Most Americans are pretty private about their finances, especially if things are not going well and they’re having trouble keeping up with debts. You may feel alone or even ashamed over the state of your finances, but bankruptcy is quite common and is often the solution to debt problems.
Is Bankruptcy Public Record?
If you don’t want people in your life to know you’ve filed bankruptcy, you have nothing to worry about. Even though filings are “public record,” that doesn’t mean they become “public knowledge.” Bankruptcies are public record so that the people who need your financial information can access it. This would include your attorney and creditors. This does not mean that your private information will be easily accessible to anyone who wants it.
In order to gain access to your legal court records, an individual would need to register on the Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) website. Doing so requires a fee. This network is usually only used by creditors and attorneys who need this information to accomplish their work.
It is not likely that someone will find out about your bankruptcy without you telling them. Since the 341 meeting is open to the public, there is a slight chance you may run into someone you know at this meeting. If you do, it’s likely they’re also filing bankruptcy.
Usually, only people who are pertinent to the case attend these meetings. Such people include the debtor, attorney, and court trustee. Your creditors may not even attend. Some newspapers and television channels may announce bankruptcy filings, especially in small towns. As mail carriers deliver mail, they may see an envelope for you marked “Bankruptcy Court,” but they will usually be focused on simply doing their jobs. It is easy to get caught up in your head about the bankruptcy process, but let it assure you to know that it is not the case.
What About Credit Checks?
When your bankruptcy is concluded, you can start to rebuild your finances and improve your credit score. One of the first steps is usually to apply for a small credit card or possibly a car loan. This will require a credit check. Some insurance companies and employers pull credit reports as part of their screening process. These company representatives will see your full credit report, including your bankruptcy. Fortunately, they will not be shocked by anything they see since bankruptcy is so common.
Seek Familiar Encouragement
Before getting upset about the possibility of people knowing that you filed bankruptcy, consider the reasons you may want to share your experience with others. It may be a good idea to share your struggles with a trusted friend or family member. As you prepare to file your case, they may be a source of encouragement once your case is resolved. They can be a shoulder to lean on once the process of rebuilding your finances begins. You may also be able to help others who are confused about how to handle their debt by sharing what you learned.
As you prepare to file your case, they may be a source of encouragement once your case is resolved. They can be a shoulder to lean on once the process of rebuilding your finances begins. You may also be able to help others who are confused about how to handle their debt by sharing what you learned.
Contact a Bankruptcy Attorney
I’ll work with you to explore alternatives to bankruptcy, but if you do need to file, we’ll get your case resolved as quickly and discretely as possible.