Bankruptcy proceedings are public record
Bankruptcy can provide debtors relief from debts that they can no longer pay. The only drawback with bankruptcy is the stigma attached to it. The stigma is due to bankruptcy being a legal proceeding and that it being part of the public record. Bankruptcy affects your credit score and the bankruptcy remains on your credit report for 7-10 years after you file for bankruptcy.
- Access through PACER
Bankruptcy filings form part of public record and any person may access the bankruptcy filings using the PACER portal. PACER is short for Public Access to Court Electronic Records. Any person doing credit investigation work or research can access the PACER portal and obtain copies of court documents.
- Court-appointed trustee and credit counselors
The bankruptcy trustee who will be appointed by the court will have access to all the documents filed in bankruptcy court. Before any proceedings can commence, debtors are required to meet with credit counselors who will then have access to some of the information already provided to the bankruptcy court.
When you file a bankruptcy petition, there are schedules that you must fill in. You must list all your assets. Assets are properties that you own that can be sold to pay off your debts. You must truthfully report all properties including bank accounts in your name. You must supply all your sources of income.
You must also list down all persons to whom you owe money and the amounts owing to them. If you have credit card debts, you must list down each credit card, including the credit card account number and the amount owing on each card. Personal loans must also be included.
All your creditors will be informed of the bankruptcy proceedings. They will be notified of the Meeting of Creditors. The Meeting of Creditors is a public hearing where any interested parties may attend. The creditors will obtain copies of the inventory of your assets.
- Credit reporting agencies and attorneys
Credit reporting agencies may have access to bankruptcy records because when you apply for a credit card, you give consent for the credit card company to keep records of your transactions. When you fail to pay your debts or when your debts are discharged, credit reporting agencies will know.