The thought of filing bankruptcy can leave individuals feeling trepidation. On top of the financial stress they face, it is a tough decision to move forward with bankruptcy considering the myths and stigma that surround this form of debt relief.
One concern that many people have if they are considering bankruptcy is that the records of bankruptcy discharges are public. It is important for individuals to know what this means, and how it affects them.
What does it mean that a bankruptcy is public record?
It is true that bankruptcy discharges are public record. However, there are a few things that individuals should know about this:
- First, it is critical to point out that all court proceedings are public record – it is not only bankruptcy discharges that are public. This is a matter of transparency in the court system, not to shine a light on someone seeking debt relief they need.
- Although anyone can access public records, it often requires individuals to seek out local court records or use the federal PACER system – and there are several steps to take if someone wishes to use these platforms to access court records, such as creating an account and password. Essentially, it is not easy to access these records.
- While these records will include financial information – as the bankruptcy filing requires – it will not include confidential or sensitive information in the public records, such as one’s Social Security Number.
Therefore, even though bankruptcy records are public, it is incredibly rare that anyone, from friends to employers, will access these records.
Public records should not prevent you from seeking debt relief
Dealing with financial stress can be overwhelming. And the stigma that surrounds bankruptcy can make many people believe that filing bankruptcy is a failure, but that is not true.
It allows many New Mexicans to obtain the debt relief they need to move forward, and the public record should not keep individuals from seeking the relief they need.