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If I File for Bankruptcy, Will Everyone Know About it?

One of the most common myths regarding bankruptcy is that everyone will know you filed for bankruptcy. Unfortunately, there is still a significant stigma surrounding bankruptcy, even though over 700,000 American individuals and businesses typically file for bankruptcy yearly. Many people are understandably concerned that they will be embarrassed personally and professionally if people find out that they have filed for bankruptcy. Filing for bankruptcy is part of the public record, but people will not see it unless they specifically search the court records for you. For most individuals, filing for bankruptcy remains a relatively private process. 

Bankruptcy Records are Public Information

Every few weeks, we see headlines about celebrities filing for bankruptcy. These people did not announce their bankruptcy to the press or post their finances on the internet for others to see, so you may wonder how this information became public knowledge. Bankruptcy records are open to the public. Technically speaking, anyone could discover your bankruptcy case. However, they would need to be looking for your specific filing or be one of your creditors. Absent these circumstances. It is unlikely anyone will find out about your bankruptcy unless you tell them about it. 

In the case of celebrities, some paparazzi groups constantly check bankruptcy records to find celebrity bankruptcy filings, get the scoop, and publicize the story. For most of us, nobody actively looks to see whether we have filed for bankruptcy by searching court records.

It is Not Easy to Obtain Another Person’s Bankruptcy Information

If someone wants to find your bankruptcy record, he or she would need to jump through some administrative hurdles that are not insignificant. First, they would have to go through the federal court system and acquire a special username and password to search for a party to a bankruptcy proceeding. Most people would never bother to go to this length unless they were your creditor or you were a celebrity or well-known public figure. Bankruptcy filings do have significant amounts of financial information that can be sensitive, however. As a result, many potential claimants are concerned about their financial information getting out to the public or an individual they do not trust.

What Type of Information Will be Included in My Bankruptcy Records?

Bankruptcy filings include multiple types of financial records. Specifically, they will include a detailed list of your assets, income, and debts. The filings will also contain a list of your creditors and the amount you owe each creditor. However, certain personal information will be redacted from the public record. In other words, a person or company searching for your bankruptcy record will not be able to see all of your personal information. For example, your filings will only show the last four digits of your Social Security number, birth date, financial account numbers, and taxpayer ID. Additionally, the record will only show the last four characters of the names of any of your miners involved in the bankruptcy proceedings.

These requirements protect claimants from identity theft. It is also important to remember that this information is not easy to obtain. A person could not simply do a Google search to find the information. Although the records are legally considered public, the odds that anyone would go to the trouble to find them are low. Unless you are a public figure, you probably will not need to worry about a person or company finding out about your bankruptcy filing against your will. As for your creditors, they are already aware of the financial difficulties you are having. They will receive notice from the court that you filed for bankruptcy but do not publish the names of debtors.

What if I Owe My Friend Money?

Your creditors may not be the only ones who receive notice that you filed for bankruptcy from the court. Bankruptcy courts are legally obligated to send notice to all creditors, even if they are your friends or family members. If you owe money to a family member or friend, you are legally required to disclose that amount as well as your family member or friend’s name and contact information. Applicants must file every debt they owe, even if it is a personal debt. As a result, that party will receive a letter from the bankruptcy court that you have filed for bankruptcy. This scenario is the most likely way your family members or friends would find out that you filed for bankruptcy.

Do Not Forget Your Credit Report

As long as nobody digs through court records to find your bankruptcy case, there should be only one other way for a person to find out you filed for bankruptcy if you did not tell them. Don’t forget about your credit report. Your bankruptcy filing will show on your credit report for seven to 10 years after your debt has been discharged. If you apply for a loan, a credit card, or try to rent an apartment, the creditor will be able to see that you have filed for bankruptcy when they look up your credit report. 

Many employers require applicants to allow them to do a credit check. Your current employer may decide to do a credit check on you before promoting you. Employees working for private companies can be fired or rejected as applicants for positions based on filing for bankruptcy, but some public firms cannot. However, information on your credit report is not as revealing and personal as the information found in your bankruptcy filings. There will be no details about your assets and debts on the credit report. Instead, the report will state that you have filed for bankruptcy and the date on which the court discharged your debt.

Should I be Concerned About Everyone Knowing About My Bankruptcy?

The thought of having people find out about your bankruptcy can be stressful. None of us would like people to know the details of our financial struggles. When deciding whether to file for bankruptcy, it is important to weigh your hesitation about people potentially finding out about the bankruptcy with the benefits that bankruptcy can bring. For many individuals, filing for bankruptcy is worth the risk that someone might find out about it.

See What Our Clients Have To Say

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Roger C.

I reached out to BLC to help assist with a chapter 7 business bankruptcy and they provided excellent guidance, advice, and support through the entire process. In my case an adversarial action was filed by one of the creditors and attorney Ahren Tiller and his staff provided sound ...arguments which prevailed. Couldn’t have found a more experienced and supportive team to represent me in a tricky situation. I would highly recommend them to anyone making the difficult but sometime necessary decision to find financial relief. Read more
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Justin R.

Like many others before and during the pandemic, life happenings caused me to be in a financial situation to warrant bankruptcy. The BLC was super professional all the way through the entire process. Right after I paid for my Bankruptcy, I got sick and had to have surgery and recovery. Then we ...were in full Pandemic mode. They were gracious to delay my filing until I was recovered and ready to file. I could not ask for more. The process was over all quick and painless for a simple Bankruptcy like mine. I feel a weight has been lifted and I can rebuild. Thank you for all your arduous work and patience, Gabriel, Ahren, and their teams are knowledgeable and efficient. Read more
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Katey Huntley

Responsive, friendly, kind, extremely easy to work with! So knowledgeable and made this entire process painless. Very grateful!

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Lynn Molina

Gabriel Hanna, Esq and the staff at BLC helped me in a very difficult time. I appreciate all the help and care they gave my case.

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Linda Cramer

I can’t say enough of how much this bankruptcy law firm helped me with my financial situation. They were all so helpful, efficient and made the difficult time and process as quick and easy as possible. I would recommend them to anyone I know and am glad to give my public recommendation as well. T...hey truly deserve a five star plus rating. Read more
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Andrea N.

I am very happy with my experience with BLC. Bankruptcy is not something anyone wants to go through, however everyone at BLC made my experience pleasant and easy. The process was explained thoroughly and I had an easy time reaching out and connecting with my attorney. Anika Renaud-Kim was my attorney ...and she was nothing short of amazing! She was very patient and generous with her time. Ms. Renaud-Kim definitely made me feel at ease and comfortable through the entire process. Read more
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Lidia Paramore

they did a great job for me, helped me anytime I needed something, my Lawyer Gabriel Hanna is the best, gave lots of confidence all the time..thanks BLC I will.always recommend you, I’m very grateful for your service!!!

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Rachael C.

When searching for information I had called a few different firms and received consults. BLC was the only one who didn’t shy away and provided answers and information during the consult. Once I agreed to move forward, they were supportive, informative, and eased my anxiety through the whole process.... I can’t recommend them enough. Read more
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Emily Martinez

AmazingI had many questions and uncertainties and the carefully explained it all and made it easy to understand. They facilitated a fast and easy process making this scary difficult thing simple

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Legal Disclaimer: The Bankruptcy Law Center is a California Licensed law firm with attorneys licensed in the state of CA, NY. Attorney Ahren Tiller is responsible for this advertisement. Bankruptcy Law Center’s principal office is located at 1230 Columbia st. Suite 850 San Diego, CA 92101. Prior results listed on this site do not depict or in any way infer a prediction or outcome.We are a debt relief agency proudly providing options to people with financial problems. View our Privacy Policy

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