Can I keep my bankruptcy file private? 30 Answers as of June 07, 2013

I dont want anyone to see that I filed for bankruptcy. It is something that I am ashamed of and I dont want to deal with having to answer any questions from my family. Is there anything at all that I can to do hide these records?

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Breckenridge and Walton
Breckenridge and Walton | Alan D. Walton
No.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 6/3/2013
Mercado & Hartung, PLLC
Mercado & Hartung, PLLC | Christopher J. Mercado
Bankruptcy filings are public records and are included in your credit report.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 9/21/2011
Heupel Law
Heupel Law | Kevin Heupel
No, filing for bankruptcy is a public record. However, it is not a public record that can easily be found. There is no shame for filing bankruptcy. It's the path to a better life.
Answer Applies to: Colorado
Replied: 9/19/2011
Dan Wilson Bankruptcy
Dan Wilson Bankruptcy | Dan Wilson
First, while it is embarrassing to be forced into a BK, its nothing to be ashamed of. Almost 40,000 bankruptcies were filed last year in Colorado alone. Its a tool to get out from under debt, sanctioned by the US Constitution and Congress. That said, BK filings are public records. But unless someone knows to look it is unlikely your family will know you filed.
Answer Applies to: Colorado
Replied: 9/12/2011
Eranthe Law Firm
Eranthe Law Firm | Cate Eranthe
No. If bankruptcy was easy everyone would do it. The bargain is full disclosure in exchange for a discharge of most debts. That being said it seems unlikely that your family would look up the current bankruptcy filings to see if you filed. Anyone can look them up online or in the courthouse but they are not published in the local or other newspaper. You should also know that if you owe money to your family or have had other financial dealings with them, you will have to list that in your bankruptcy paperwork.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 9/9/2011
    Indianapolis Bankruptcy Law Office of Eric C. Lewis
    Indianapolis Bankruptcy Law Office of Eric C. Lewis | Eric Lewis
    Bankruptcy is a public record, open and available to inspection.
    Answer Applies to: Indiana
    Replied: 9/9/2011
    The Law Offices of Kristy Qiu
    The Law Offices of Kristy Qiu | Mengjun Qiu
    No, bankruptcy is public information and anybody that decides to pull your credit report will see it. Also, anybody that has court filing access will be able to see your entire bankruptcy case. But besides that, your friends and neighbors won't be able to see it unless they intentionally look for it.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 9/8/2011
    Bird & VanDyke, Inc.
    Bird & VanDyke, Inc. | David VanDyke
    Bk filings are a matter of public record. If someone really wants to know they could find it. However, it has been my experience that it is somewhat difficult to obtain this info.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/8/2011
    Law Office of Harry L Styron
    Law Office of Harry L Styron | Harry L Styron
    All federal court files are scanned and entered into the PACER system which is on the Internet. However you have to have a log in and pay .08/page to look at the files. All bankruptcy files are open for inspection at the office of the clerk of the court where they were filed.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/8/2011
    CONSUMER PROTECTION ASSISTANCE COALITION, INC. (DE).
    CONSUMER PROTECTION ASSISTANCE COALITION, INC. (DE). | Gary Lee Lane
    No.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/7/2013
    The Barger Law Firm
    The Barger Law Firm | Jason W. Barger
    Unfortunately, no, you cannot keep the information private. On the upside, it takes some digging by somebody to find this information out.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 9/7/2011
    Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney
    Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney | Janet Lawson
    No, it is a public record.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/7/2011
    Law Office of Larry Webb
    Law Office of Larry Webb | Larry Webb
    No. There is nothing to be ashamed of. You have a financial problem and you are dealing with it. Don't buy into that personal failure stigma the banks and charlatan radio advertisers try to sell you.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/7/2011
    Law Office of Andrew Harris
    Law Office of Andrew Harris | Andrew Harris
    No. Unfortunately, filing bankruptcy becomes public record.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 9/7/2011
    Charles Schneider, P.C.
    Charles Schneider, P.C. | Charles J. Schneider
    No. It is a public record.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 9/7/2011
    D T Pham Associates, PLLC
    D T Pham Associates, PLLC | Duncan T Pham
    No. Bankruptcy filings are public records and are accessible to those who know how to search for them.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 9/7/2011
    Bankruptcy Law Center
    Bankruptcy Law Center | Bill Zurinskas
    Bankruptcy is a matter of public record. Anybody can go to the court and check the records. If a family member has access to Pacer (unlikely), they can access the records online. Your family won't know about your bankruptcy, unless they are a creditor, co-signor, preferential transferee or owe an obligation to you, or unless you or a third party tell them or they go to the bankruptcy court and search the records. The newspaper in my jurisdiction publishes business bankruptcies only. There are many businesses that routinely check the bankruptcy record and will send you solicitations for vehicle loans, credit repair and financial management course certificates after filing for bankruptcy.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 9/7/2011
    Benson Law Firm
    Benson Law Firm | David Benson
    Bankruptcy records are public documents and available to be viewed by the general public. However, as a practical matter, the folks who are going to find out about it are the entities listed in your mailing matrix (e.g., creditors, ex-spouses owed support, employers, landlords holding large security deposits and co-debtors). If no one in your family is listed there or knows someone listed there, they are not likely to find out about it. I have many clients who have expressed the same concern and none of them have told me that they had any problem with people finding out. Of course, that doesn't mean it couldn't happen under certain circumstances.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 9/7/2011
    Mauritz Van Niekerk, Attorneys at Law
    Mauritz Van Niekerk, Attorneys at Law | Christiaan van Niekerk
    Unless they pull your credit they will not know.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 9/7/2011
    Eric J. Benzer, Attorney at Law
    Eric J. Benzer, Attorney at Law | Eric Benzer
    No.
    Answer Applies to: Maryland
    Replied: 6/7/2013
    Law Office of Jackie Robert Geller
    Law Office of Jackie Robert Geller | Jackie Robert Geller
    Unfortunately bankruptcy filings are public records.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/7/2011
    Ashman Law Office
    Ashman Law Office | Glen Edward Ashman
    No. Bankruptcy filings are public. They will be on your credit history for 10 years and can be accessed by any member of the public online via Pacer.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 9/7/2011
    Law Offices of Joseph A. Mannis
    Law Offices of Joseph A. Mannis | Todd Mannis
    Which family members are going down to the Bankrutptcy Court, getting on the computer in the Clerk's office, and looking you up? Because that is the only way they will ever know you've filed.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/7/2011
    Holmes Law Offices
    Holmes Law Offices | Martin M. Holmes
    The filing of a Bankruptcy is a public record. It will show up on your credit report. However, it is not a published record. I recently did a Bankruptcy for a family member more than 8 years ago and again for another 2 years ago. Nobody in the family knows that. Bankruptcy is extremely common in the last few years . I can almost guarantee that you have friends neighbors and family members that have filed a Bankruptcy and you are not aware. May very famous people have filed. I sympathize with your feelings of " shame". Most of us are raised to keep our promises. Most of us are also raised to believe that we some how can control our own financial destiny. That all we have to do is show up work hard be honest and we will prosper. I submit that is a myth. There is very little in modern economy that we can control. We cannot control when plants shut down, business lay off, jobs move overseas. We cannot control if we get sick or injured. If we are in business we cannot control the decline in consumer spending. When those things happen many people find themselves unable to pay their debts. I days gone by we used to allow creditors to actually divide the body of the debtor. Hence, in Shakespeare's the Merchant of Venice, the money lender had the poor merchants heart as collateral. Then we put people into debtors prison, or indentured them for life. We are a more civilized society today. We as a people collectively, through our government, passed Bankruptcy laws to enable the honest but unfortunate debtor to obtain a fresh start. We recognize that as a society we are all better off allowing people that find themselves unable to pay their debts to start over, unburdened by oppressive debt, So that they and their families are not required to live destitute. As a man It is easy for me to believe that I am a failure if I do not prosper financially. In reality I would be a failure if I do not do my best to provide for and protect my family. If I cannot pay everybody then I am going to do what I need to keep a roof over my family's head , food on their table and clothes on their back. Sometimes it is necessary to punt and gain better field position in order to win the game.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 9/7/2011
    Bankruptcy Law office of Bill Rubendall
    Bankruptcy Law office of Bill Rubendall | William M. Rubendall
    Bankruptcy filings on on the public record. However, most persons would not ordinarily find out about a bankruptcy unless you tell them.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/7/2011
    Ursula G. Barrios Law
    Ursula G. Barrios Law | Guillermo Machado
    Public record but must know where to look.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/7/2011
    The Law Office of Marvin Wolf
    The Law Office of Marvin Wolf | Marvin Wolf
    No. But there is no need to hide the filing. No one stamps a red "B" on your forehead. Generally, it doesn't show, so how is the family going to find out? Many federal court actions, including bankruptcy filings, are public and can be accessed from somewhere if someone is really looking. The trick is that some one has to know that they should look, and know where to look. It will appear on your credit report. It will appear on electronic PACER court records. Generally, that's about it. Unless someone actively searches, it usually doesn't show. The court sends out mailings to you, but you can use a separate mailing address for notices. The family may wonder why the creditors are no longer calling, but may assume you settled with them. If they do find out, so what? Bankruptcy is not a venereal disease and should bring no shame. It is a responsible legal option granted by Congress. You have it as a legal right. About one and a half million people file each year. A few Presidents filed. Many celebrities have filed. Smarter people and richer people than you have filed. You have a lot of company. In America, it is not a sin to fail. The ability to fail and bounce back is what made America great. In fact, the refusal to let banks fail led to Japan's economic crisis. The hedge funds in America that were too big to fail led to America's economic crisis. If you feel you deserve a fresh start, that's what bankruptcy is for. It's one of the few decent breaks you can still get in America. Disclaimer: Not legal advice. Not your lawyer. Federal debt relief agent and attorney at law in NJ and NY. Mandatory disclosures available on website.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 9/7/2011
    Law Office of Maureen O' Malley
    Law Office of Maureen O' Malley | Maureen O'Malley
    They're public records. But the only ones who know about it are those who receive notice, such as creditors. If you live with extended family, there's probably no problem in getting a mailbox and using that as your mailing address. Bankruptcy is not a shameful thing. It shows strength to say you can't keep doing what you've been doing, and it gives you a chance to get back on your feet. It's granted by the Constitution, so there's nothing new about it. These are trying times, and you're absolutely not alone. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 9/7/2011
    Symmes Law Group, PLLC
    Symmes Law Group, PLLC | Richard James Symmes
    Bankruptcy is public record, but in most cases nobody will find out unless you tell them about it.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 9/7/2011
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