Does Privacy Exist for Bankruptcy Filers?
For those who are considering bankruptcy as an option, a major factor has always been your privacy while filing. The thought of a bankruptcy being “public information” makes the process seem like it would allow the public to see that you have filed for bankruptcy. What needs to be kept in mind is that public bankruptcy information is not easy to get and most people do not have access to your public records. Most people would have no idea where to find bankruptcy filing information.
Bankruptcy filing is well known to be publicly available because we sometimes hear about celebrity bankruptcy filings on the news or in online gossip sites. It is true that if a party wanted to find out from the court system if you have filed bankruptcy or not, they can check with the court system and find out, but it is not likely that any of your friends, family, or acquaintances know where to check for a bankruptcy filing. The law firm you choose to help you file for bankruptcy is under legal restrictions against providing any of your case information to anyone who might ask information about you. A client confidentiality agreement will keep your information safe in the law firm you are working with. In shorter words, it is not easy for people to find out that you are filing for bankruptcy. Between you and your law firm, your privacy is protected.
Bankruptcy is not a crime. The right to file for bankruptcy is provided to you from public policy that was instated by our government. You will not be treated as a criminal or in any different category than your current situation. It is a personal situation for yourself only. It is very unlikely for any of your colleagues or contacts to find out about your bankruptcy unless they really put the effort in to find the information in the court systems. Many financial organizations have systems that are constantly checking for bankruptcy filings which may clue them in to your bankruptcy filing, but the reason for this is because they are a bank or some other type of financial institution where it is critical for them to know their client’s bankruptcy status. Other companies, like your cell phone service provider or your utilities companies are not likely to be aware of your filing if they are not included in the bankruptcy petition.
Bankruptcy is a personal situation even though it is widely known that bankruptcy information can be found from the court system. No law firm will publicly post your filing or any other information of your filing anywhere that is easily accessible. The only reason that bankruptcy filings are considered public information is to allow any creditors to know about a bankruptcy filing which they are related to.