Will friends and family know if I file for bankruptcy?
One of the biggest concerns for people who want to file bankruptcy is who can find out about their filing. Bankruptcy filings, like most court records, are public information. However, unless you are a prominent person (e.g. movie star, sports star, politician) or a major corporation, the reality is that only your creditors and the people you want to know will find out about your case. There are three major ways people will find out about your bankruptcy: by notice from the court, by accessing court records, or by your own word of mouth.
First, when you file bankruptcy, the Court will send a notice of the case to your creditors and co-debtors (if any). It will also be sent to major credit bureaus, or ex-spouses who receive any type of domestic support from you. This is how your creditors will be notified about your bankruptcy.
Your bankruptcy records can also be accessed online through the Clerk of the United States Bankruptcy Court website. However, most people have no reason to look you up on the Court’s website.
Finally, people can find out if you tell them yourself. This is probably by far the most common way people find out about your bankruptcy.
Therefore, although your bankruptcy is public information, it is usually a private matter. Unless you are a public figure or a major corporation, no one will know unless you tell people about it.