How do I go about filing a motion to seal my bankruptcy records? 12 Answers as of March 27, 2014

I've found myself in an unfortunate financial predicament and I’m considering filing chapter 7. I've read on a forum that a lawyer can file a "Motion to Seal" when he/she files bankruptcy for me. What advantage does this give? I realize the credit agencies would still get the information but would the bankruptcy truly be sealed from public view/Internet reporting sites. I truly appreciate your valuable time.

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Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney
Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney | Janet Lawson
I have never done it, I'm not so sure all judges would grant such a motion. In any event someone has to have a PACER account look. Your SSN number is protected and no one can look at it except creditors.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 3/27/2014
Goldsmith & Guymon
Goldsmith & Guymon | Marjorie Guymon
There is no such thing as sealing a bankruptcy file. You may be able to file certain documents under seal but the actual filing is public record.
Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 3/26/2014
Ronald K. Nims LLC | Ronald K. Nims
Generally, bankruptcy records are considered public records and they will only be sealed in unusual circumstances. Records that pertain to trade secrets of businesses, medical records of healthcare providers and other privileged records are usually sealed but ONLY those specific records NOT the entire bankruptcy proceeding. The law provides that scandalous records can be sealed, so if you were forced into making internet porn or were sold by a child prostitution ring on Craigslist you'll be able to seal those records but not the records of the entire bankruptcy.
Answer Applies to: Ohio
Replied: 3/26/2014
Tokarska Law Center
Tokarska Law Center | Kathryn U. Tokarska
A typical bankruptcy case does not involve documents that can be sealed. You cannot seal the case. Documents filed with the court are also supposed to be redacted to protect confidential identity information such as social security, account numbers. The general rule is that documents filed with the court are public records open to examination. Under Section 107 of the Bankruptcy Code and Bankruptcy Rule 9018, the court may order certain documents to be filed under seal. Some reasons for filing papers under seal include: Protect an entity with respect to a trade secret or confidential research, development, or commercial information. Or protect a person with respect to scandalous or defamatory matter contained in a paper filed in a case under this title. If the information you wish to protect falls under these categories you submit the documents to the Judge along with a motion to seal the documents. The motion should explain why the documents need to be filed under seal without disclosing the information.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 3/25/2014
EDWARD P RUSSELL | EDWARD P RUSSELL
I have never heard of sealing a bankruptcy.
Answer Applies to: Minnesota
Replied: 3/26/2014
    Steele, George, Schofield & Ramos, LLP
    Steele, George, Schofield & Ramos, LLP | Alan E. Ramos
    Court records can be sealed only for compelling reasons (personal safety, trade secrets, etc.). The court will not grant a motion to seal records without solid evidence of probably harm to someone.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 3/25/2014
    Danville Law Group | Scott Jordan
    In order to prevail on such a motion, you would need a very good reason to have the records sealed, after the discharge is granted. You would need a reason related to your or your family's safety and not just that you don't want them to be made public. As far as the records being public, the only way to access the records online is to have a special password assigned to members of the bankruptcy courts bar.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 3/25/2014
    GARCIA & GONZALES, P.C.
    GARCIA & GONZALES, P.C. | Richard N. Gonzales
    The grounds for sealing a court file are very (very) restrictive. You would have to have compelling reasons other then an embarrassment factor. The courts are extremely reluctant to seal court files. Maybe if you had a trade secret or something akin to this, you could be a portion of your file seal. Otherwise, I can't personally think of any good reasons to seal a file.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 3/25/2014
    The Law Office of Darren Aronow, PC
    The Law Office of Darren Aronow, PC | Darren Aronow
    You would have to have a compelling reason to seal it, not just because you don't want other people to see. You can find the motion on line.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 3/25/2014
    A Fresh Start
    A Fresh Start | Dorothy G Bunce
    A portion of a bankruptcy record can be sealed in exceptional circumstances. For example, someone holding a court order of protection against a stalker or perpetrator of domestic violence can have information about their address or place of employment sealed by the bankruptcy court. But you can't get a bankruptcy record sealed in order to prevent your creditors or neighbors from finding out about your bankruptcy, nor can you get this information hidden from the credit bureaus.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 3/25/2014
    Deborah F Bowinski, Attorney & Counselor at Law | Debby Bowinski
    Bankruptcy filings are public records and are not usually sealed at all. A request can be made for good cause, but that usually means that the person's safety would be compromised if the details were available to the public.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 3/25/2014
    Thomas Vogele & Associates, APC | Thomas A. Vogele
    A motion to seal bankruptcy records can only be made on very narrow grounds and I would highly recommend that you retain an attorney to assist you. Generally speaking, this is not the sort of thing you should attempt yourself. You should be able to retain an attorney for the limited purpose of filing the motion for a reasonable fee. Good luck!
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 3/25/2014
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