Will my bankruptcy record be published?
Filing bankruptcy is considered a matter of public record, which means the public has a right to access the information. Does this mean everyone will have easy access to the information? Not necessarily, in fact, it's not uncommon for many people never to find out you have filed bankruptcy.
Will your bankruptcy be published in the local newspaper? It depends. Although your bankruptcy is considered public record, just like other state court proceedings, whether or not it will be published in the local paper will depend on the paper.
Who will be notified of my bankruptcy?
Assuming your bankruptcy is not published in the local newspaper, you might be wondering who will be notified. If you file bankruptcy each of your creditors will be notified of the Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 filing. But this notification is good because it will ensure your creditors stop any collection actions, including most wage garnishments and lawsuits.
Next, if you have been sued or there is a pending lawsuit against you, the plaintiff in the case will also be notified of your bankruptcy. Next, if you have debts which are jointly owned by another person or party they will be notified that you have filed bankruptcy.
As mentioned above, a bankruptcy filing is public record. Although the public will not be automatically notified, it will be possible for any curious person to go to the courthouse where the bankruptcy case had been filed and look at the bankruptcy records.
Other individuals or companies may also be able to access your records online if they have an electronic account access to PACER, which is the online Federal Court records system. Additionally, there are online web sources which publish bankruptcy data but to access the data a person would have to subscribe to these services.
Will the credit companies get information about my bankruptcy?
If you file bankruptcy the three major credit reporting agencies (Equifax, TransUnion and Experian) will also be notified. The bankruptcy filing will remain on your credit report for 7 to 10 years. This information can be obtained by anyone who chooses to access your credit report. For instance, if you apply for a new job and your prospective employer decides to run a credit check, they will be notified you have filed for Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
Could a judge seal my bankruptcy records?
If you file bankruptcy the information is considered public unless a court decides to seal the record, eliminating the right of the public to access the record. Unfortunately, other than specific information such as your birth date or Social Security number, a judge generally does not seal bankruptcy records.
How do I find out if my local paper publishes bankruptcy records?
For more information about whether you bankruptcy filing will be published in your local paper you can call the local papers that cover your area and simply ask if they publish bankruptcy filings on their website or in their paper edition. Talk to a bankruptcy lawyer if you have more questions about filing bankruptcy or for keeping your filing private.
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Current bankruptcy laws do not outline a minimum debt threshold to file Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy.