I am a fairly private person. I think it is natural for people to want to keep certain pieces of their lives private and this includes their financial affairs, whether they are having financial problems or not. However, when people are having financial issues, they are probably a little more concerned with keeping it private. It is a humbling thing to go through and people tend to not want to advertise it. It is tough to be vulnerable and it is tough for us, as humans, to admit we are going through tough times. I understand that. It is interesting the stigma that is put on individuals who may be feeling some financial stress, yet look at the companies and banks that have been bailed out by the government. I highly doubt those entities are losing sleep over being given a second chance; at being able to access a tool to help them out of their financial troubles. You should not lose sleep over being given a second chance either. But I know that before someone files bankruptcy, sometimes they are concerned with people finding out about their second chance.
Your Bankruptcy Can't be Found by a Simple Search
When asked the question about whom will find out about a bankruptcy, my favorite lawyerly answer is, “It depends.” Is your neighbor one of your creditors or a co-signor on any of your debts? If they are, then they will receive notice. If they are not, it is not likely that they will be searching to see whom is filing bankruptcy. Bankruptcy records and filings are public records, except pieces of information such as social security numbers, loan numbers and other identifiable information like that. However, in order to access these records, a person needs to have a PACER account and pay the fees associated with accessing documents. Your bankruptcy will not be found by a simple internet search. If your neighbor is not one of your creditors, will your neighbor register for a PACER account in an effort to keep tabs on all of the various federal court filings? It is highly unlikely. There is a per-page fee that is associated with accessing documents. Attorneys, creditors, and others directly involved in the bankruptcy process are the ones most likely to have PACER accounts. Is your neighbor one of these individuals?
Will My Employer Find Out?
You may also be worried about your employer finding out. The above also applies to this scenario, with a couple of caveats of course. If you file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy and have the payments automatically deducted from your paycheck, your employer will know you filed bankruptcy, or at the very least the payroll department will know. To avoid that, simply make your payments by phone or online, both of which are options. Along these lines, the question arises regarding whether your employer finds out you filed due to the fact that you took a loan out from your 401k and that loan is listed on the creditor matrix. Your employer does not find out this way. A 401k loan is a loan against your interest in your retirement and as such, your employer does not receive notice of the filing. Now, if you are in a Chapter 13 payment plan and you fall behind, it is possible that the Bankruptcy Trustee could request information from your employer and your employer would find out in that manner. If you are in a Chapter 13 plan and are feeling some financial pressure on the monthly payments, give your attorney a call and see what the options are.
You may also be worried about your neighbor (or anyone else) finding out from the local newspaper. The newspapers around Brainerd do not print individual bankruptcy filings. Most, if not all, newspapers around the state similarly do not print individual bankruptcy filings.
After you file your bankruptcy (either a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13), you will be required to attend what is called a 341 meeting, or more commonly known as a meeting of the creditors. This meeting is public so anyone can attend if they know about it. How do people find out when these meetings are and what cases are being held? A person would need a PACER account or you would need to tell them. The likelihood of someone you know attending the hearing (unless they also have a bankruptcy case going on) is quite small; so small in fact that creditors rarely even show up.
Ultimately, if you are not telling people about your bankruptcy, there is not a high likelihood that many people are going to find out. But, even if they did, chances are either that person or someone close to them has filed bankruptcy as well. Bankruptcy is simply another good tool in your life toolbox and rest assured you are not the only one using it.
Don't Let Fear Prevent You From Securing Financial Freedom
If you have debt and are considering bankruptcy, try not to let the fear of your neighbors finding out prevent you from making your life better and less stressful. Reach out to Kain & Scott today and schedule your free consultation to discuss how you can get your second chance. You deserve it. With a few pieces of financial information, we can assess what option will be best for you and your family and get you on the road to being debt free for 2018. Ring in the New Year knowing that Kain & Scott will be by your side throughout the bankruptcy process and the end result will be financial freedom.
Kain & Scott has affordable flat-fees and a 100% money back guarantee. To top it off, we offer a FREE 90-day credit repair program that will help learn how you can improve your credit score and obtain financing from a list of Minnesota’s trusted lenders. You can schedule your initial consultation online at www.kainscott.com or by calling 800-551-3292. At Kain & Scott, we do not just get you through a bankruptcy, we help you get your life back.