Filing for bankruptcy is a serious decision that can have a lasting impact on your financial future. It's important to understand that the information contained in your bankruptcy case documents is a matter of public record and can be accessed by anyone. Unless sealed, all documents filed in a bankruptcy case are available for public viewing on the website Public Access to Electronic Court Records (PACER). Debtors should be aware that filing for bankruptcy can adversely affect their credit rating.
Credit reporting agencies regularly collect and disclose bankruptcy data to the public. Bankruptcy cases are filed in federal bankruptcy courts, not in local county courts. Therefore, your bankruptcy case should not be listed in your local county's court records. Many newspapers that publish “Judicial News” or recent court cases obtain their information from county court records, so it's unlikely that your bankruptcy case will be published in the newspaper.
Bankruptcy laws help people who can no longer pay their creditors to start from scratch by liquidating their assets to pay off their debts or creating a payment plan. Each of the 94 federal judicial districts deals with bankruptcy matters, and in nearly every district, bankruptcy cases are filed with the bankruptcy court. If you need to access documents related to your bankruptcy case, you can do so during regular business hours at the Clerk's Office or 24 hours a day through Internet access to PACER. It's important to remember that filing for bankruptcy is a serious decision and should not be taken lightly.