This is a common question asked by folks who are struggling financially and contemplating bankruptcy. The truth is that outside of those directly involved with your bankruptcy (you, your lawyer, your creditors, the Trustee and the Judge) not many people are going to know that you filed bankruptcy. If you file bankruptcy in Houston (or in many other cities) it will not be reported in a listing in the local newspaper or green sheets.
A bankruptcy is, however, a public record and will show on your credit report. For the average consumer, credit reports are viewed by others when applying for credit, renting an apartment or applying for new utilities. In rare cases employers may pull a credit report.
Public records are accessible to legal professionals and paraprofessionals who have access to the PACER system (the bankruptcy courts’ online database). The database can be accessed by the public, but in Houston the public can only access bankruptcy information at the Clerk’s office (which is in the federal courthouse).
Think about it this way – do you know what your neighbor’s paycheck looks like? Do you know what your coworker’s monthly rent or mortgage payment is? Chances are probably not. Personal financial information is usually kept private as would the fact that you filed a bankruptcy.
While a bankruptcy can be a scary experience you should not feel ashamed. Bankruptcy is a tool designed to give folks a fresh start. Filing bankruptcy is an act of taking responsibility for your financial picture rather than running from your responsibilities. You will not have a Scarlet B on your chest nor is it likely that your friends, family or neighbors will know you filed bankruptcy unless you tell them.
The information contained in this blog is for general information and educational purposes and is not legal advice. Reading these posts does not create an attorney/client relationship.