If you’re considering bankruptcy, you may wonder whether these documents are part of the public record. The short answer is yes, bankruptcy records are accessible by the public.
Public Records and Bankruptcy
First, it’s important to point out that everything other than confidential information that’s filed in a bankruptcy case is public record. Essentially, your bankruptcy filing may be seen by any people who are willing to go through the process of obtaining it. Although, most people won’t go through the trouble.
Once you’ve filled out the bankruptcy paperwork, two things happen:
- Your bankruptcy petition and schedules are filed in the bankruptcy court.
- The clerk processes them into the Pacer System, which is a method utilized by the Federal courts to stock and retrieve court files.
Anyone who has access to Pacer may explore the system using several categories—including names—to locate and review bankruptcy documents and other legal files.
Most People Won’t Find Out By Accident
While basically everyone can gain access to the Pacer System, it’s not likely that anyone you know will just happen upon your bankruptcy documents. In order to locate the files, someone will first need to have an inkling that you filed, and then they will also have to follow through with the effort that it takes to obtain a password and get familiar with Pacer’s user interface.
However, it’s important to note that some smaller jurisdictions publish bankruptcy filings on the internet and some even publish bankruptcies in the local newspaper as well.
But that’s not the norm. You can find out by reaching out to a skilled local bankruptcy attorney. A professional will be able to discuss your case and the publication practices in your district.
Another way to find this information is by calling the clerk and asking about the publishing practices in your locale.
If you’re concerned about your debt and are considering filing for bankruptcy, we may be able to help. Our attorneys here at The Gil Law Firm are highly skilled in this area of the law and have helped many other people in similar situations relieve their debt. Let us see if we can help you, too. Don’t hesitate to contact our office with your case right away.