Who will knowIf you are considering filing a Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Knoxville, you’ve likely got lots of questions.  Despite the fact that under these economic times there really is no stigma associated with filing a bankruptcy case, folks often want to know who will know about my bankruptcy case.

Obviously, if you file a Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 bankruptcy it is a matter of “record.” That means basically that the public has a right to access the information.  However, that doesn’t mean that the information is “easily accessible.”  For most people the most they ever find out is that a case is actually filed.

Since the bankruptcy case is a matter of public record sometimes newspapers will publish the names of people who have sought bankruptcy relief.  However with bankruptcy filings skyrocketing its just no longer “news” that someone filed a case.  But remember that this is basically free information that they don’t have to have pay a reporter to generate.  So that has value to the paper.  As a result, it’s unlikely that newspapers will quit publishing the names of people who file.

I have used a special strategy in filing some cases so that very few people ever picked up the case in the newspaper.  Obviously, I can’t disclose that strategy here or it would no longer be “special.”

Remember that the bankruptcy requires that you disclose all your assets and all your debts.  Each creditor listed will be given notice of the filing of your bankruptcy case.  (That’s a good thing because the automatic stay requires them to cease collection activity, including garnishments or lawsuits.)  So you know that anyone you owe money to will know about your case.

If you are involved in a lawsuit, even if you think you will win, the other party will be notified that you filed a bankruptcy case only if they have asserted a claim against you.  If you are the plaintiff (the one bringing the case) and the other side hasn’t sued you, then they may not get notice of the case, but you’ll have to disclose the existence of the case in your bankruptcy papers.

Also, anyone who is jointly liable with you on debt will get notice that you filed a bankruptcy case.  Often these are family members.  You are encouraged to let them know on a personal basis prior to them getting the notice from the court.  Often your landlord will get notice if you have a lease that extends over 30 days.

As mentioned early, the fact that you filed a Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a matter of public record.  Anyone who wants to go to the Federal Courthouse in the district in which the case is filed can look at the records (other than your social security number disclosure).  For individuals or entities who have access to a PACER account (an online access to Federal Court records) it’s fairly easy to look up who has filed a case.  In some circumstances, but not always, a service on the web that publishes public data may make the filing available.  It’s my impression that very few people pay to subscribe to these services.

Finally, know that any credit reporting agency will have access to your bankruptcy papers.   The three major credit reporting agencies Equifax, TransUnion and Experian have immediate access to the fact that you filed a bankruptcy case.  That means that anyone who runs a credit report or a background report (such as potential employers) will usually be informed that you filed a Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 bankruptcy.


Contact Knoxville – Sevierville Bankruptcy Attorneys

If you are considering bankruptcy, trust the experienced attorneys at Scott Law Group, PC. We’ve been filing consumer bankruptcy cases since 1983. We offer a free consultation to discuss your situation and to help you explore your options. If you are considering bankruptcy call us TODAY at 865-246-1050.

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