One of the common questions I hear is whether everyone will find out if you file bankruptcy.

While records of bankruptcy filings are available to the public, your neighbors probably wouldn’t find out unless you told them. Parts of your bankruptcy petition are filed with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court and available on the federal court system’s PACER document web site. In our jurisdiction in Kansas City, bankruptcy filings are also published in a newspaper called The Pulse. It circulates among lawyers and businesspeople; but even there the bankruptcy listings are obscure.

The only parties notified when you file for bankruptcy are your creditors, the bankruptcy court, and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Creditors can report the filing on your credit record, so it can appear there for a limited time as well.

But unless they were tipped off to your bankruptcy filing, or had reason to look into your credit history, your neighbors probably wouldn’t even know where to begin. Don't be too concerned with them finding out.

Even if someone does find out or you choose to tell them, the stigma of filing for bankruptcy has lessened over the years, so there’s no need to feel embarrassed. People you know have probably been through the exact same thing without you knowing about it.

Most people will realize you filed for bankruptcy because you needed to make a fresh start, and would hopefully applaud you in those efforts. The bankruptcy code is designed for this exact purpose - to give you a change to start over in a financially healthy way.

If you have other concerns about filing bankruptcy or want to speak with an attorney, call us at 816-842-6200. We're available to answer your questions and can set you up with a free consultation. Or try emailing us!