Many people are concerned with the negative stigma that surrounds bankruptcy. They want to know who will find out if they decide to file. While a bankruptcy is publicly recorded, typically only creditors or bankruptcy attorneys will actually view this information. You probably shouldn’t worry too much about your friends, neighbors, or others in your social circles finding out.
What’s Included in My Bankruptcy Record?
The information on file will include copies of any documents related to the filing. Values of assets, creditors’ claims and information on any funds exchanged in the process will be listed. It will also include notes about meetings and phone calls.
Who Could See My Bankruptcy?
Millions of Americans file bankruptcy each year, and cases don’t usually garner much public attention. Including those directly involved in your filing, here’s who can see your bankruptcy.
- Your name will be entered into a PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records) database when you file bankruptcy. Anyone with a PACER account can view this information for a small fee. Although anyone can open an account, creditors and your bankruptcy attorney are likely the only ones who will view this information.
- Your bankruptcy trustee, if assigned one, will have knowledge of this information as well. The trustee should not disclose your financial information to outside parties.
- It is possible that your name could appear in the local paper’s “public notices” section. Not all papers publish bankruptcy filings. You can check your local paper to see if your town’s does so.
- The Meeting of Creditors is a public hearing that anyone can attend. It would be unusual for anyone other than your bankruptcy attorney and creditors to attend.
- You will receive mail from the Bankruptcy Court. Your mail carrier or neighbors who see your mail could find out about your bankruptcy by seeing marked envelopes.
Your Creditors Will Be Notified
Any of the creditors you owe money to at the time will be notified when you file for bankruptcy. They will receive information necessary for their involvement in your case. This includes your basic personal information, assets and the debts included in your bankruptcy.
Your Bankruptcy Will Show Up on Your Credit Report
Your credit report is the most common place that your bankruptcy will show up. The details of your bankruptcy, including dates, creditors and debt owed will show up for up to seven years after your discharge. Access to this information is somewhat restricted and you normally must give permission. This includes when you apply for a credit card, an apartment or sometimes employment.
There’s always a chance that someone may find out about your bankruptcy since it is public record. But you shouldn’t be overly stressed that it will be broadcast for the whole community to hear. Aside from those directly involved in your case, most people are too busy with their own finances to be concerned with yours.
Contact the attorneys at Parker & DuFresne, P.A. if you’re considering bankruptcy as an option. We have decades of experience in bankruptcy law and can guide you through the process. Call us at (904) 733-7766 for your consultation.