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Are Bankruptcy Filings Public Record?

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The term “bankruptcy” is a big word that carries some negative connotations. A lot of people have bad impressions of bankruptcy and are ashamed of it. Some individuals may not want others to know the issues they are experiencing financially, which is why there is the concern of whether or not bankruptcy filings are public records. 

Because bankruptcy involves going through the legal system and court proceedings, bankruptcy filings are considered public records. All bankruptcy cases are recorded in the Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) system. And unless the case is sealed for justifiable reasons, it will be in the system forever. 

However, anyone seeking information about a particular debtor would have to plug in their specific information. It’s not public in the sense that everyone is going to know that a person filed for bankruptcy immediately when it goes up in the system. There has to be a proactive search conducted on a particular person to find out whether or not they have filed for bankruptcy. 

When Does a Person Search for Specific Information About a Debtor? 

Usually, debtors who have filed for bankruptcy are only searched in the PACER system to fulfill screening or background checks. It comes to play when a debtor applies for a highly classified job, for example, or to meet different parameters for security clearances. In these situations, a person may conduct a specific search on the PACER system to find out if an individual filed for bankruptcy. 

Generally speaking, whether or not bankruptcy filings are public records should not be a matter of concern. The laws and procedures on bankruptcy are there to give debtors relief from financial problems and give them a clean financial slate. And unless a person proactively searches the PACER system with the details of a debtor, the filing is not circulated or announced in any way. 

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