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Are Bankruptcy Records Public?

Charlotte Bankruptcy Lawyer Bryan W. Stone of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “Will anyone find out about my bankruptcy?”

Unfortunately, the reality is that for many people bankruptcy can be a stressful and even embarrassing ordeal that they would like to forget about as soon as possible. One of the things many people worry about is that others – including family, friends or coworkers – might found out and that the information could lead to uncomfortable moments.

 

Stacks of files Charlotte Bankruptcy Lawyer North Carolina Chapter 13 AttorneyAre records public?

 

The most basic question that many people want an answer to is whether bankruptcy court records are public. Unfortunately, the answer is yes. There are no sealed records in a bankruptcy proceeding and those who are filing for bankruptcy protection have to accept the fact that some information that they might wish to keep private will be publicly available.

 

How are the records made public?

 

When a person files for bankruptcy protection in North Carolina their case will be assigned to a district court. Once that case is officially filed the matter is deemed a public record. On the U.S. Bankruptcy Court’s website this information is displayed after searching, describe some basic information about all cases that are filed, including case name, debtor’s name, creditors’ names, court dates, attorney contact information and any motions that have been filed in the case.

 

More information can be found by paying to print these documents or calling up the local bankruptcy court and requesting that copies of files be made. This means that anyone who wants to can access details of your bankruptcy simply by performing a quick search. However, and this is an important however, just because the information is publicly available does not mean that it will become public knowledge. 

Does everyone find out?

 

Though every case is different, it is important to understand that just because information is a public record does not mean everyone will be able to easily happen upon it. Friends and family will not simply stumble upon your bankruptcy records while reading the morning newspaper. If someone wants to know, they would have to go looking specifically for you to find out any details, something the vast majority of people would never think to do. Furthermore, even if someone was curious they would have to be savvy enough to find the bankruptcy court’s website and operate the somewhat cumbersome search tools.

 

Though bankruptcies are clearly public events, there is no need to worry that your decision to file for bankruptcy protection will be plastered across billboards around town. The information may be out there, but you really have to dig if you want to find it.

 

If you find yourself needing the services of a Charlotte, North Carolina bankruptcy attorney, please call the skilled lawyers at Arnold & Smith, PLLC today at (704) 370-2828. As professionals who are experienced in the bankruptcy arena, our attorneys will provide you with the best advice for your particular situation.

 

Source:

“General Bankruptcy, Frequently Asked Questions,” published at USCourts.gov.

 

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