When you need to file for bankruptcy, it’s understandable to have concerns about your privacy. The reality is that bankruptcy is you can’t keep your bankruptcy case private, but that doesn’t necessarily mean everyone will know about it.
Your creditors, your attorney, and members of the court will know about your bankruptcy due to their involvement with your case. Future creditors and employers may also learn about your bankruptcy when pulling your credit report, but this only occurs for about 10 years.
Barring these exceptions, no one else has to know about your bankruptcy case and may never find out.
Bankruptcy Is a Matter of Public Record
Because bankruptcy cases are handled in the court system, they become matters of public record. This means that anyone can access almost any kind of information about a bankruptcy case by filing a public records request. Rarely, exceptions may apply when a judge decides to seal certain records.
You Can Redact Sensitive Personal Information
Your bankruptcy documents will contain a lot of information that you’d rather keep away from the public’s eye, especially sensitive personal information.
Fortunately, you can partially redact some sensitive personal information such as your Social Security number, birth date, and bank account information, but all other information about your bankruptcy (assets, debts, etc.) remain part of the public record.
How to Keep Your Bankruptcy Case Private
Although bankruptcy is a matter of public record, the people who don’t have to know about it may never will. If you wish to keep your bankruptcy affairs confidential from friends, family, and nosy neighbors, it can be as simple as never mentioning it to them.
While it’s possible for someone to request information about your bankruptcy case, they must make an effort to do so. This includes contacting the clerk’s office and sometimes paying a fee. Someone who doesn’t have a vested interest in learning about your bankruptcy case may be unlikely to invest their time and resources going to these lengths.
Even though there’s no shame in pursuing debt relief through bankruptcy, it’s understandable why anyone would want to keep their financial affairs as private as possible.
Bankruptcy shows up in the public record, but it still has some aspects of privacy. You can partially redact certain information that someone else could use to steal your identity, and someone who has no reason to research your bankruptcy filing may never learn about your case if you never share information about it with them.
Ultimately, it is important to remember that bankruptcy is a serious legal matter and should be discussed in detail with an experienced bankruptcy attorney before any decisions are made.
Contact Buchalter & Pelphrey Attorneys At Law online today to learn more about this process.