Is Filing Personal Bankruptcy Public?

Personal Bankruptcy Is Technically Public

The fact is that filing a personal bankruptcy case is public record. However, the fact you filed is not something that is easy to obtain by the general public. There is a public access system known as PACER which contains information regarding bankruptcy filings throughout the country. To gain access to that system you must register and pay per page of each document you obtain. For this reason, the general public typically doesn’t obtain a pacer account. Pacer is more or less used for bankruptcy professionals, lenders, and others who have a direct need to look up prior bankruptcy cases in detail.

The fact that you filed personal bankruptcy will appear on a credit report for up to 10 years. Thus, if you go to apply for a job, a rental apartment, or credit, those individuals obtaining your credit report with your consent are going to be made aware of your bankruptcy filing. Additionally, in certain applications there may be questions concerning whether or not you have ever filed a bankruptcy before in any capacity. This is another way where your personal bankruptcy can become public.

Personal Bankruptcy Will Not Be Widely Known

For the most part, the fact that you filed personal bankruptcy will remain relatively close to your vest. Yes there are some entities that will find out about it and can find out about it, however the general public will not be made aware of your bankruptcy unless you either give them consent to pull your credit report, you acknowledge it in an application, or members of the general public are listed as creditors in your case. When you file for either chapter 7 or chapter 13 bankruptcy, you are required to list all the people that you owe money to on your bankruptcy petition. If you owe a family member or a friend or anyone else, that person’s name and address must be listed on your petition. So from that standpoint, those creditors are obviously made aware of your personal bankruptcy. There is no prohibition against those people broadcasting or soliciting the fact that you have filed a bankruptcy case.


Even if your case is obtained by the general public, you should consider the benefit that you will receive in filing and weigh it against the fact that it may become public. What kind relief are you obtaining? Are you saving your home from foreclosure? Are you stopping a wage garnishment that’s taking 15% of your pay? Are you taking a drivers’ license that is currently suspended due to parking tickets and getting it unsuspended thanks to a bankruptcy filing? Are you basically not able to make ends meet because of your minimum payments and other debt commitments? Look what you are getting rid if in obtaining a tremendous fresh start.

If you have further questions on how your personal bankruptcy becomes public, you can contact my office at 847-520-8100. Helping people with bankruptcy is what my law firm is all about. Please feel free to contact me and my law firm when it really matters.

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