Who Will Find Out That I Filed for Bankruptcy?
This is a common question, wondered about by many who choose the remedies afforded by the bankruptcy system. The primary recipients of information on your bankruptcy case will be your creditors because, as a debtor, you are required under penalty of perjury to identify them in your Schedules (D, E and F) so the Court can mail out notice of your case.
In general, however, your filing documents (Schedules, Statement of Financial Affairs and several related forms) are public records and accessible to anyone who reviews bankruptcy court filings with a paid subscription to the PACER service center. Bankruptcy attorneys are the primary subscribers to this system, using it to access information about their own cases and other cases of interest.
Who Uses PACER?
PACER is also used by private companies who trace the identity of debtors in all newly filed bankruptcy case. This information is then sold to private entities and, in particular, to credit lenders who may not otherwise learn of a borrower’s bankruptcy case in time to deny or restrict further credit on an outstanding account, particularly where the debtor fails to identify the account on Schedule F.
Credit reports and the companies who compile them like Experian, Trans Union and Equifax, use information on bankruptcy filings and record chapter 7 and 13 filings for 10 and 7 years, respectively. As a result, anytime you apply for credit within those time periods your prospective lender will learn about your case.
Beyond these examples, few people pay to access the PACER system. Although information on commercial bankruptcies may sometimes appear in local newspapers, we see little evidence that consumer bankruptcies are subject to regular publication. Moreover, in over 20 years of practice, we can’t recall a single instance of a consumer bankruptcy client finding information on his or her bankruptcy case in any general distribution news source.
For more information on the consequences of filing bankruptcy, don’t hesitate to call us.
About Hurlbett & Olmstead
Since 1994, we’ve helped thousands of people in Santa Barbara, Ventura, Paso Robles, Santa Maria and San Luis Obispo regain financial peace in their lives. These people now experience a life free from the stress and worry that comes from watching unpaid bills mount, answering calls from arrogant debt collectors, receiving a lawsuit from a process server, finding an empty spot where a car has been repossessed, missing money from a garnished paycheck, or knowing that their house will soon be sold at foreclosure.
DISCLAIMER: The materials on this Website were prepared for informational purposes, only, and are not legal advice. This information is not intended to create or constitute an attorney-client relationship. Internet users and online readers should not act upon this information without seeking professional counsel. Please do not send confidential information to us until you speak with one of our attorneys and obtain express authorization to do so.