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Can I Keep My Bankruptcy Filing Confidential and Unavailable to the Public?

January 2nd, 2015 Bankruptcy

If you decide to file for bankruptcy, unfortunately you cannot keep the records confidential. Bankruptcy records are indeed a matter of public record, but generally they are seen by only a few entities. When you seek assistance from an Arkansas bankruptcy attorney, they will explain to you how to keep the information confidential in the event you are concerned about your safety. However, it is important for you to understand what becomes public record in the event that you file for bankruptcy.

Who Can See My Bankruptcy Records?

While your bankruptcy records are a matter of public record, you should not be particularly concerned about the public learning about your filing. Keep in mind, unless someone actually takes the time to visit the courthouse and scour their files, your bankruptcy proceedings will be unknown to friends and family members unless you personally share it with them. Even when a bankruptcy filing is published in a newspaper, it is not highly publicized. Only those who actually read the newspaper’s listings of new filings will see your case in print.

Typically, your bankruptcy filing will be seen by very few people. Here are the three main sources that will receive notification of your bankruptcy case and what they will see:

  • Creditors. After you file bankruptcy, your creditors will be notified of your bankruptcy filing. This is so they stop all collection efforts on your debt. Each creditor, which includes anyone to whom you owe money (which could include business associates and relatives), will receive all of your personal information, including your address and social security number.
  • Credit bureau. Credit bureau records will also be updated to reflect your bankruptcy filing. In order for the agencies to accurately note your credit record, your personal information (including your address and social security number) is disclosed.
  • Court records. Since anyone can access court records, your information will be on file. Keep in mind that in recent years the courts have changed how your information is reported. Only the last four digits of your social security number will be available publicly.

Understand Your Rights and Protections

Today, people are more concerned than ever about identity theft and the release of private information. While your name and address will be visible to anyone who is searching through bankruptcy records housed at the court, all but the last four digits of your social security number are hidden. If you have specific concerns about the safety of your personal information, you should discuss these with your Arkansas bankruptcy attorney.

In the event you file for bankruptcy protection and you have an existing order of protection against your creditors, you may request that the court seal your bankruptcy filing. However, it is important to note that while the public record may be modified to eliminate your home address, your overall file will still be part of the permanent court records. Should you have a protection order, it also important to inform your Arkansas bankruptcy attorney immediately upon filing.

Should you not wish to have your home address part of your bankruptcy filing, you may be able to use a post office box address on your bankruptcy filing. It is important to understand, however, that the post office may also require your home address on the post office box request. In addition, the trustee appointed by the bankruptcy court may also require your home address and your credit report may also reflect the change of address.

Whether you have specific questions about your debt or if you are considering filing for bankruptcy, contact the attorneys at Nolan Caddell Reynolds or call 1-866-242-0452 for assistance. We will be more than happy to address your concerns and help you through the filing process.

One of the best lawyers around!

Debbie T