Often prospective clients ask whether their bankruptcy case will be reported in the local newspapers. Generally, the answer is “no,” your bankruptcy will not be reported.
Because folks have seen foreclosure notices listed in their local newspapers, they are concerned that, because bankruptcy is a legal proceeding, their bankruptcy case will also be reported. Foreclosure notices are required to be published under most states’ foreclosure laws whereas, bankruptcy cases are not required to be published.
Furthermore, given the number of bankruptcy cases that are being filed in most areas of the country and certainly in eastern North Carolina, most local papers do not have the space to devote to bankruptcy cases that have been filed. There are, of course, some exceptions. For example, a local developer who has filed for bankruptcy protection which puts a hold on a major project may be big news in a local community. Most filings just do not arise to this level.
However, it should be remembered that a bankruptcy filing is a public record and may be accessed by just about anyone. Federal court records are available through PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records) but you must have an account to access this information.
Recently, some websites that list foreclosures and other types of information based on a review of public records may report that you have filed bankruptcy. As stated above, bankruptcy filings are public records and such records can be utilized if accurate. So, you may get some inquiries regarding your home if you filed bankruptcy and such is being reported on these websites.
While a bankruptcy case is a public record, most times you do not need to worry about it being reported in your local newspaper.
Adrian Lapas, Esq.
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Last modified: August 17, 2009