However, lots of people and businesses will find out. On the day we file bankruptcy, the bankruptcy court sends out a notice to all of your creditors that you have filed for bankruptcy. Generally, if you don’t list a creditor in your bankruptcy, that debt doesn’t get discharged, so you want the list to be thorough.
If you are being garnished, then we send a “stop garnishment” letter to your employer’s payroll or human resources office to stop the garnishment. This means that your employer will probably find out about the bankruptcy.
You will receive notices from the bankruptcy court in your mail, which means that anyone else who sees your mail, including your kids or nosy mother who came over to visit for the weekend may see the bankruptcy notices. So, if anyone sees your opened mail on the kitchen counter, then they will find out about the bankruptcy.
The bankruptcy court notice is also a public document which is posted on a poorly formatted list at the court website, but very few people know about this. It is posted here, and then you go to “Public Resources” and then “Recent Case Filings,” for a case list of cases filed that day. See Appendix A below for a sample.
You may see someone you know at the 341 Meeting. I have had women in the same relief society presidency meet each other in court and then awkwardly hug the other, saying, “funny meeting you here. I had no idea.”
Any attorney who has PACER access (online court login access to federal court access) can look it up online.
Anyone who runs a credit check on you will see the bankruptcy under your “Public Filings” section of your report.
That being said, normally, no one knows that you filed for bankruptcy. Most of my clients go on with their lives without their friends or family knowing the financial hellstorm (or crapfest, you pick the appropriate term) that they just experienced.
Only one time in my career have I had a bankruptcy disclosure become ugly: my clients filed for bankruptcy, and the next week, their drill team daughter arrives at school, goes to the locker room, and finds a copy of her parent’s bankruptcy petition printed off and taped to the front of her locker. She was horrified, and no one ever confessed. This is very, very rare, and just awful.
So, to sum it up, hopefully no one will find out, but there is a good chance that the following people will know:
1. your creditors
2. your kids and nosy parents
3. your employer
4. people who check the bankruptcy case filings list on the bankruptcy court website
4. people you recognize in court
5. inquisitive attorneys with PACER access
6. anyone who runs a credit check on you.
This is not legal advice. If you need help, go to www.robertspaynelaw.com.
The daily court list looks like this:
U.S. BANKRUPTCY COURT DISTRICT OF UTAH Case Filings Report Page 1 For Cases Filed: 01/24/2014 Report Date: 01/25/2014 0:10 CASE NO. TITLE JDG ATTY TRUSTEE CHAP NOD* ---------- --------------------------------- --- ---------- -------- ---- --- BK cases: 14-20712 Gabriel Beltran JTM Anders K 13 C 14-20713 Kaisa Paula Kinikini and Ana Naom JTM Hunt t M 7 C 14-20714 Richard Daniel Sandoval JTM Long S Anders K 13 C 14-20715 Alex Nicholas Proestakis JTM Jones T Anders K 13 C 14-20716 Robyn Price JTM Winward E Anders K 13 C 14-20717 Steven Ray Walker and Laurie Jo W JTM Weekes R Anders K 13 C 14-20718 Carrol K. Perry WTT West t D 7 C 14-20719 Jason A Penney JTM x2Pearso J Anders K 13 C 14-20720 Kody William Carling and Rachelle JTM Barrett D Bird t J 7 C 14-20721 Victor Zepeda and Veronica Zepeda JTM Bailey S 7 C 14-20722 Jeffrey Lynn Hall and Wendy Jean WTT Ruesch B West t D 7 C 14-20723 Rusty Duane Price JTM Jones P 7 C 14-20724 Deysi Quiroga JTM Hunt t M 7 C 14-20725 Richard Lloyd Dewey JTM Anders K 13 C 14-20726 Saul Mendoza Montes JTM Anders K 13 C 14-20727 Andrew J Harris JTM Anders K 13 C 14-20728 Joseph Burton Shandrew JTM Anders K 13 C 14-20729 Aaron Michael Krause and Sarah El JTM Jones T Bird t J 7 C 14-20730 Mary Frances Roberts WTT Baxter R Bailey S 7 C 14-20731 Gregory William Buckley and Gayle JTM Hagen J Rupp t S 7 C 14-20732 Daniel Thomas Oler and Joanie Mar JTM Curtis A Jones P 7 C 14-20733 Jennifer Pyles JTM Helgesen C Bailey S 7 C 14-20734 Emma Gabito Hultquist JTM Harris L Anders K 13 C 14-20735 James L. McCoy JTM Berry D Anders K 13 C 14-20736 Tom Harris JTM Adams L Anders K 13 C