Yes, Bankruptcies Are Public
Bankruptcy still carries a stigma. Apart from the fact that your credit report will go into freefall, many consumers fear bankruptcy because they do not want anyone else to know about it. Nevertheless, these fears are usually overblown. Although bankruptcy records are public, few people will be searching for them. Furthermore, there is no shame in experiencing financial difficulties that quickly spiral out of control.
Finding Bankruptcy Records
Bankruptcy cases are filed in federal district court, and bankruptcy records can be found there as well. To locate federal court documents, you can use PACER, which is an online database of all filed records in federal court cases.
Some local newspapers around the U.S. also publish the latest bankruptcy filings from the nearest district court. And companies that run background checks will also find this information. If you use Intelius or another company that provides background checks, you can uncover whether someone has filed for bankruptcy protection.
Is Anyone Looking for You?
The fact that records are available does not mean that anyone is actually checking. Chances are, few people are interested enough in your life to find out whether you have suffered financial difficulties. But even if they were, you have nothing to be embarrassed about. Financial problems can strike anyone. According to the Huffington Post, people file for bankruptcy for the following reasons:
- Medical debt
- Unforeseen disasters
- Job loss
Who would feel embarrassed that any of these tragedies has struck them?
Explaining a Bankruptcy
There are two common situations where a bankruptcy will come to light: you are applying to rent an apartment, or you have applied for a job. It is now standard for most landlords and employers to do a credit check on all applicants, so you can expect them to find out about your bankruptcy.
Of course, if you have no plans to rent an apartment or change jobs, then you have nothing to worry about. By the time you are ready to make a switch in your life, your bankruptcy will have fallen off your credit report or it will be so old that it won’t raise as many red flags.
But what happens if you are planning on switching jobs or moving in the next couple of years? In these situations, you will need to confront your bankruptcy head-on. You can relieve a lot of anxiety by simply being honest about why you fell into financial difficulties.
For example, you might have filed for bankruptcy because you racked up too much credit card debt. Instead of hiding this fact, acknowledge your problems, but remember to follow up by explaining how you have changed. As an example, you might have started living according to a budget or frozen your credit cards so they will no longer be a temptation. By showing that you have modified your behavior, you come across as a responsible adult committed to positive change.
Speak with an Experienced South Florida Bankruptcy Lawyer
Filing for bankruptcy is an important decision that requires a lot of thought. At Nowack & Olson, we help distressed consumers get on top of their debts by doing a 360-degree review of their finances and advising them about their best options. To schedule a free consultation, reach out to us today.