One of the most common questions that I am asked during the initial bankruptcy consultation or subsequent meetings with clients is, who will find out that I filed for bankruptcy? It is a reasonable question to ask, because, for some people, bankruptcy tends to carry negative connotations, and debtors are often embarrassed of their need to seek bankruptcy relief.
Initially, filing for bankruptcy under either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 results in a court proceeding. The information about the filing will be available to anyone at the bankruptcy court or anyone who is willing to access bankruptcy information online. All bankruptcy cases are listed in the online database known as PACER. In order to access PACER, you need to have an account, and pay a small fee for every page of the document being accessed. All bankruptcy attorneys use PACER since it allows us to check on pending and previously filed cases and get other information.
As I discussed previously, bankruptcies also appear on credit reports.
In addition, here in Rochester, there are two newspapers that publish information about bankruptcy filings. First, Democrat & Chronicle publishes information about recent bankruptcy filings once a week. From what I observed, there is a significant lag between the actual date of filing and the publication date. Second, another, much smaller local newspaper, the Daily Record, publishes information about recent bankruptcy filings as well. Unlike Democrat & Chronicle, the Daily Record is targeted toward attorneys and is not usually seen by the general public. In my experience, most people do not pay any attention to the bankruptcy filing information and none of my clients ever mentioned that anyone learned about their bankruptcy filings from the newspaper.
Notice of a bankruptcy case also goes out to every creditor. In addition, the notice may go out to the debtor’s employer in Chapter 13 Bankruptcy cases where the debtor will be making payments to the plan. In a typical Chapter 13 Bankruptcy case here in Rochester, such payments are made by wage deduction, and the debtor’s employer is sent a wage deduction order. However, a notice of the Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing will not go out to the debtor’s employer just because the debtor has a 401(k) loan.
At the end, it is most likely that only the past and future creditors and bankruptcy court personnel will learn of your bankruptcy filing.
If you are contemplating filing Chapter 7 Bankruptcy or Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, or are dealing with debt problems in Western New York, including Rochester, New York, Canandaigua, Brighton, Pittsford, Penfield, Perinton, Fairport, Webster, Victor, Farmington, Greece, Gates, Hilton, Parma, Brockport, Spencerport, LeRoy, Chili, Churchville, Monroe County, Ontario County, Wayne County, Orleans County, Livingston County, and being harassed by bill collectors, and would like to know more about how bankruptcy may be able to help you, contact me today by phone or email to schedule a FREE initial consultation with a Rochester, NY, bankruptcy lawyer.