How Public Is a Bankruptcy Filing?

Interviewer: I didn’t even realize the job hopping would even show up on your credit. I think one thing people are concerned about and maybe you can clarify this part is some court proceedings are obviously made public. How public will my bankruptcy be? Will my friends or my job going to find out and is that something I need to worry about as well?

A Bankruptcy Filing Is Public Record But Is Not a Publicized Proceeding

Jeanne: That’s going to be region specific. Bankruptcy, just like any other court proceedings are public record but the bankruptcy court doesn’t go around advertising it. Now, I do know that there are some areas in Texas where the local newspaper goes out of their way to list events that happen at the courthouse, such as births that are registered, death records, new business filings and bankruptcies. That’s not a product of the bankruptcy system. That’s just some regional newspaper does that.

Bankruptcy Filing Was Created by the Government to Offer People a Second Chance at a Financially Secure Future and Has Been Used by Many People

Jeanne: Quite frankly, the people who are most worried about it would be shocked to know who around them has filed bankruptcy.

Interviewer: That was going to be my next question actually. It’s probably something that your neighbor down the street has done.

Jeanne: Well, I mean of course I don’t discuss it with people but I recognize addresses and realize that the individual around the corner filed bankruptcy last week. Like I said, I’ve had quite a few teachers and sometimes they’re very concerned about how it will look and I can’t tell them that some other people in the school they work in have filed bankruptcy.

Just as a little aside, there’s a small town near Midland that has gone through some harder times. It’s probably 10,000 or 15,000 people. It does have some industry there but it’s doing well in the oil boom but prior to the oil boom, it went through its share of hard times. There’s a standing joke in the office anytime someone from this location comes in and gives us their address and we tell them as an icebreaker, “Well I just can’t believe you live in this location.” and they’re say, “Why?” and I’m say, “Because I’ve already filed bankruptcy for everybody in that location.” It’s almost literally true.

Interviewer: I had come across a little town out by Corsicana and bought a little land out there but then I learned that the whole city as a whole had filed bankruptcy. I didn’t even know that was possible for a city to do that but now we have the example of Detroit.