Bankruptcy filings are public record. However, the fact you filed is not something that is easy to obtain by your family, friends, employers, or general public. There is a public access system known as PACER which contains information regarding bankruptcy filings throughout the country. Typically, one would need to go through the process of ordering access to an account themselves, or visit a local attorney's office who already has access, etc., in order to make an inquiry via a specialized PACER account. Here is some typical bankruptcy questions regarding privacy answered:
--> Remember, bankruptcies are not published in the newspaper these days. Publishing local listings in the newspaper used to be a means of giving your creditors notice of your filing. These days, it is simply no longer necessary, and creditors get notice via mailings by your attorney and the bankruptcy court.
--> A bankruptcy can appear on your credit report for 10 years, but the effect it will have on your actual credit score is much shorter (around 2.5 years). During this time, you are allowed by law to attach a personal statement of your situation that led to your decision to file to your credit report, which can help to answer questions the creditor may be unsure of. Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), you have the right to attach a personal statement to your credit report. It isn’t much (just 100 words, or 200 words in the state of Maine), and it has no numerical value in the formula that generates your credit score. Although not many take this approach, and instead simply move on with their lives, let their credit score build, and put the filing behind them once and for all, others take comfort in knowing that they have the ability to write these kinds of credit report notes.
--> Bankruptcy Court is a specialized, federal courthouse. You will not be visiting your local district court any time during this process, so there is a very low chance of stumbling upon someone you may know while attending your 341 creditor meeting. 341 meetings take place at the Bankruptcy Courts only. You, along with a bankruptcy trustee, and any creditors who decide to attend, will be in a room with many other individuals who are there for the exact same reason you are! The bankruptcy courts deal with hundreds of bankruptcy petitions every month, so you have no need to worry about them making this a bigger deal than it has to be! Remember, our attorney's are able to get your filing done right the first time! We pride ourselves on taking all the stress out of your potential filing.
If you have any questions regarding privacy concerns surrounding a potential bankruptcy filing, please do not hesitate to call and speak to an attorney today. These are issues we are understanding of, sympathetic to, and ready to address.