Filing for bankruptcy is a major financial decision that comes with potential ramifications not only for your personal life but potentially your professional life as well. For many of us one of the most significant considerations when filing for bankruptcy is knowing whether or not people will have access to your bankruptcy documents once you’ve filed.

So are bankruptcies public record? It can be challenging to understand the ins and outs of legal proceedings when filing for bankruptcy. Fortunately, JPP Law is here to help. Our bankruptcy lawyers in Stroudsburg, PA, have put together a quick guide to bankruptcy cases so you can better understand how the process could affect you.

 

Can The Public See Your Bankruptcy Records?

Filing for bankruptcy offers a lot of advantages for those dealing with debt. But what are the downsides of bankruptcy? For some, the biggest will be that, when you file for bankruptcy, that fact is public record. That said, it’s essential to understand who is granted access to these records and how.

While anyone could technically find your bankruptcy records, there are numerous steps they would have to go through to get hold of your bankruptcy and would have to suspect you of filing in the first place.

Bankruptcy documents are held online through the Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) system. To gain access to these records, you have to create an account and password, and typically only a bankruptcy lawyer in NEPA would feel a need to do so.

So in order to access your bankruptcy documents, someone would need to go to the PACER online portal, create an account, and then specifically search for your bankruptcy records.

While the likelihood is low that someone would actively search for your bankruptcy records, you should keep in mind that certain jurisdictions or local media outlets may take notice of your filing at the time in which you file.

While this isn’t standard practice and is highly unlikely, consider this possibility if you live in a small town or are a person of public interest.

 

A low-angled shot of a courthouse where people can file for bankruptcy.

 

What Does It Mean To File a “Motion To Seal” Bankruptcy Records?

You may have heard of filing “a motion to seal” in regards to filing for bankruptcy, meaning that the courts will withhold certain aspects of your bankruptcy records from public record.

While this may sound appealing, you should know that in order to seal any portion of your bankruptcy from public record, you will need to prove that there are specific documents within your bankruptcy that have the potential to damage either your safety or your public image. 

Sealing any bankruptcy documents is extremely rare, and even when certain documents are worthy of it, the sealing applies only to the documents in question. There is no way to seal your entire bankruptcy or prevent it from becoming part of the public record.

 

Get Help from a Professional Bankruptcy Lawyer

It can be challenging to know what filing for bankruptcy will entail and what this will mean for you in the long run. So, what does it mean to file for bankruptcy? JPP Law can provide 

If you still feel that bankruptcy might be the right move for you and you have inquiries specific to your circumstances, consider contacting a bankruptcy lawyer in Stroudsburg, PA, today for help with these difficult questions.