First off, the bad news. Bankruptcy filing is a public record. That means, the public has a right to know. Now, the good news! More than likely, the only people who will know that you filed for bankruptcy are the creditors, your attorney, the trustee, the bankruptcy court staff and the judge. Your creditors have to be notified as they have the right to notice. In a very few areas of the country, the local newspaper publishes lists of bankruptcy filings, but that practice is very rare. If your local newspaper doesn’t publish lists of filings, then your neighbors will not know unless that neighbor is also a creditor. And unless the debt is a marital debt, your spouse won’t know. If one of your friends co-signed on a debt for you, that friend is also entitled to notice because that person is now responsible for payment on that debt.
Employers are a bit different. An employer is not entitled to any kind of notice of your filing. In a Chapter 7 case, the employer wouldn’t be aware of the filing of a bankruptcy case, at least not by any paperwork required to be filed (unless the employer is also a creditor). In some chapter 13 cases, however, the chapter 13 payment is required to be paid through a wage order and then, the employer may then have knowledge that there is a bankruptcy case when the payroll preparer receives that order (which will have your name, the bankruptcy case number and indicate that the payment is to be sent to the Chapter 13 Trustee). However, in some cases, the trustee may waive that requirement if the order would create problems at your job.
You have probably seen the headlines screaming about this celebrity or that celebrity filing for bankruptcy and worried about your own headline. But, unless you are a well known person and the news media would be interested in your filing, the chances are that the only ones who will know are those that need to know.