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Why Most People Won’t Know You Filed For Bankruptcy

Etiquette experts say that sex, politics and religion are subjects to be avoided at dinner parties.

I’d add one more subject to that list – money.

Nobody wants to talk about their money problems except with their closest friends and loved one – and sometimes, not even with that intimate circle of confidantes.

That’s why people who are thinking about filing for bankruptcy are worried about the possibility that word will get out.

I’m here to tell you it probably won’t happen. In fact, most people probably will never know that you filed for bankruptcy unless you tell them.

Here’s why.

Nobody Goes To The Courthouse

Your bankruptcy filing is a court record, which can be pulled up on the court’s system.

That court system, PACER, can be accessed by anyone at no cost. But record searches are charged at a fee of $0.08 per page.

Someone could go to the courthouse and do a search at no cost, but most people don’t do that.

Why? Because most people don’t want to take the time to do so.

Beyond that, most people don’t even know about PACER unless they’ve got a case of their own.

Related:

Neighbors Can’t Check Your Credit Report

Your bankruptcy case will show up on your credit report for a period of time; creditors will know about it, but that’s pretty much as far as it goes.

In order to get a copy of your credit report, someone must have a permissible purpose.  Nosy neighbors don’t have a legitimate reason for peeking your credit report, so you’re in the clear.

Related:

Won’t It Be In The Newspaper?

In Los Angeles, no newspapers publish the names of individuals who file for bankruptcy.

In New York City, none of the major daily newspapers publish bankruptcy information.

Most cities don’t publish listings of local people who filed for bankruptcy, so you’ve got nothing to worry about if you’re in a major metropolitan area.

People Care About Themselves More Than They Do About You

It’s tough to admit, but the person who cares about you the most is … well, you.

Everyone care more about their own problems, their own issues, and their own wallet.  They’ve got barely enough time to get through their own mental to-do lists each day without mucking around in your business.

Neighbors, friends, coworkers, and looky-loos won’t spend time or money to snoop into your private life. They won’t go out of their way to find out about your bankruptcy, and they sure won’t actively seek out your financial information.

You’re going to need to get over your bill problems without prying eyes over your shoulder.  And that’s not a terrible thing, is it?

By |January 30th, 2014|

About the Author:

I've been a consumer protection lawyer since 1995, working to help people end their bill problems. I'm a faculty member at the Student Loan Law Workshop, a nationally recognized speaker, and a long-time member of both the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys and National Association of Consumer Advocates.
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