One of the most common questions when it comes to bankruptcy is if the information will be available to the public. While bankruptcy is public, this does not necessarily mean that your family, friends, or employer will access it. If you have concerns about who will be able to access your bankruptcy filing information, it can be helpful to reach out to an Oklahoma bankruptcy lawyer today.
A few of the most common reasons why people are concerned about their bankruptcy filing becoming public information include:
- Fear of being terminated from a position
- Fear of not receiving a job offer
- Judgment from family and friends
- Damaged reputation in the community
Bankruptcy is not something that should make you feel ashamed. It is a program that is available to individuals who need a fresh start. Filing for bankruptcy can put you in a better financial position.
Will the State Notify My Employer of a Bankruptcy Filing?
Filing for bankruptcy creates a public record. But what does this mean for you, and who has access to this information?
One of the biggest concerns with filing for bankruptcy is whether that information is available to an employer. Employees might not want their employer to know when they file for bankruptcy. The state of Oklahoma will not notify your employer of your bankruptcy filing, with the exception of a few situations.
There are a few examples in which the court would notify your employer of an active bankruptcy court case:
- To stop a wage garnishment: Filing for bankruptcy will stop any wage garnishments you have. The court will need to notify your employer to stop them.
- You owe money to your employer: Filing for bankruptcy requires that you are transparent with your debts, including any money owed to your employer.
- You file for Chapter 13: Chapter 13 restructures your debt into an affordable payment each month. It requires that your income is directly allocated to your debtors.
With the exception of these situations, your employer will not receive notification of your bankruptcy filing.
Who Can Access Information About My Bankruptcy Filing?
After filing for bankruptcy, the local court clerk will upload your information into the PACER system. This program is used to track court records. This report will only include the bankruptcy filing. It will not include any of your public information, like your social security number or home address.
The public can access this information, but they would need a login and password first. While anyone can request a password and an account, most will not unless they have reason to do so. Additionally, it is unlikely that they would create an account and then do a search for your information specifically unless they had suspicion, or reason to search.
Because a bankruptcy is public information, it is available to anyone. However, most people will not go looking for information they do not know exists.
What Can Employers Do With This Information?
Fortunately, even if your employer does come across information regarding your bankruptcy filing, it does not permit them to terminate you. The United States Bankruptcy Code prohibits employers from terminating an employee, solely based on them filing for bankruptcy.
Unfortunately, this information could make it more difficult to seek future employment. Some employers require a credit report during the application process, especially in positions that are finance related. They may use this information as part of the screening process.
This should, however, not prevent you from considering bankruptcy, if you are currently in a difficult situation. While a public bankruptcy might impact your chances of gaining employment, unpaid debts could too. The bankruptcy can stay on your credit report for up to 10 years, but unpaid debts can also stay on your credit report for many years.
Where Is Bankruptcy Information Published?
In addition to the PACER system, bankruptcy information will also show up on your credit report. Credit reports are accessible by current and potential employers. In most cases, current employers will not run an updated credit report of their current employees. Unfortunately, you cannot prevent the credit reporting organizations to report this information.
Some people interested in filing for bankruptcy may worry that the local newspaper will publish their information. While this is legal and always a possibility, it is a practice that is not often used anymore. Most courts process thousands of bankruptcies each month, meaning it would be unrealistic to publish all of them.
If you have concerns, you could always request information from your local city on how they handle this information. If you choose to file your bankruptcy with a bankruptcy lawyer, and there are many reasons to consider doing so, then they can guide you on the common practices in your area.
Should I Consider Filing for Bankruptcy?
Bankruptcy is a good financial option for those who are struggling to keep up with their debt payments each month. Whether you have a large amount of debt, have recently become unemployed, or are just struggling to keep up each month, filing for bankruptcy can be a welcome relief for many.
There are two types of bankruptcy:
- Chapter 7: Chapter 7 bankruptcy requests that your debts be entirely erased. This includes credit cards, medical bills, and any other unsecured debts.
- Chapter 13: Chapter 13 bankruptcy consolidates your debt into one, affordable monthly payment. You will make payments for three to five years and if you keep up with regular payments, the rest is erased.
It is important to evaluate the eligibility requirements of each one. You can also discuss your financial situation with a bankruptcy attorney today to explore your options.