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Will My Bankruptcy Be Published in the Newspaper?

September 22, 2009

Bankruptcy is a legal process and a matter of public record. In the past newspapers have published local bankruptcy filings in the “public notices” section. Today this practice is not practical due to the large numbers of bankruptcy filings. Recently the American Bankruptcy Institute projected that individual bankruptcy filings nationwide would reach 1.4 million in 2009. Newspapers report news that is of interest to the community, so unless your name is Donald Trump or Burt Reynolds, your bankruptcy filing simply isn’t newsworthy.

The process of opening a case in the bankruptcy court is actually very confidential. Once you file a bankruptcy petition a notice of the filing is mailed to all of your creditors. Other than receiving notice of the bankruptcy filing from the bankruptcy court, there are only a few ways to learn of a bankruptcy case. The most common way is to contact the bankruptcy court by telephone. Most bankruptcy courts have an automated telephone system that will provide basic case information to the public.

Another common way to learn whether an individual has filed a bankruptcy is to use the Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER), an electronic public access service that allows users to obtain case and docket information from Federal Appellate, District and Bankruptcy courts via the Internet. PACER registration is free, but the system charges the user $.08 per page.

Finally, some lenders subscribe to bankruptcy information services. These services harvest public records daily and sell the information for a variety of purposes. It is surprising to many debtors in bankruptcy when they receive invitations from businesses seeking to loan money or finance automobiles.

As you can see, the bankruptcy process is actually very confidential. While there are no guarantees that your friends and neighbors will not learn about your bankruptcy, chances are they will not unless you decide to tell them. However, every case is different.  If you have specific questions about the effects of filing bankruptcy, please consult with an experienced bankruptcy attorney.  Call Fears | Nachawati at toll free 1.866.705.7584 or e-mail us at




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