Who will know that I am filing for bankruptcy?
Often times, when considering filing for bankruptcy, people are concerned with the perceived stigma around filing for bankruptcy and/or who might find out that they have filed. First, let’s address the perceived stigma of filing for bankruptcy. In 2011 alone over 1.5 million people filed for bankruptcy. This number has doubled since 2007. Bankruptcy filings go hand in hand with the economy. In a struggling economy it can be very difficult to find gainful employment, to remain employed, and even to pay bills that keep piling up. Often times debtors have been struggling for some time and there is one major event or issue that pushes them over the top, whether it is a medical issue, losing a job, a law suit, or even having a child. When it becomes to much to handle you do have legal options and we are here to help.
Though pursuing an legal option to eliminate debt, many people are still concerned with who might find out. A bankruptcy filing is a matter of public record, so the short answer, is that anyone that goes digging will be able to find out. Perhaps the most important question to ask is not who could find out, but who would care. Chances are you neighbors are not sifting through piles of public records daily just to see what you are up to.
All of your creditors that are listed will get notice of you bankruptcy proceeding. The court, the local trustee, and the United States Trustee’s office will all get notice. Not to worry, all of these people get notice of every bankruptcy filing.
Some prospective employers may ask if you have ever filed for bankruptcy. We recommend that you are honest, and for many employers, this may not bar you from employment, they may just want further explanation. Conversely, if you lie on your application and you employer finds out, even years after you are employed, they may be able to fire you for lying on your application. It would be much better to disclose the information, if asked, in the very beginning then to have to explain both the bankruptcy and deceit later on.
Some mortgage lenders and rental properties will ask if you have filed for bankruptcy. There is not an automatic bar on purchasing a house after you file for bankruptcy, but it is something your lender may want to know. Chances are, they will find out anyways when they evaluate your credit worthiness so it would be better to tell them up front so you can be properly advised from the beginning. There may be some apartment complexes that will not rent to you if you have filed for bankruptcy. However, there are many that will rent to you, even immediately after filing for bankruptcy. This will be up to each individual company and may vary by location. The best advice is to be honest if asked.
If you have questions, or would like to set up a free consultation, contact a St. Louis Bankruptcy Attorney today.