Bankruptcy. Just the word has an air of negativity to it thanks to years of social and cultural shaming. If you’re considering bankruptcy, it is likely because you have exhausted all options available to you. And it is understandable, even reasonable, to expect that you may be allowed to keep these proceedings as private as possible.

Unfortunately, however, bankruptcy filings are a matter of public record. As a court proceeding, the bankruptcy charge is part of public information. However, additional details related to the bankruptcy need not always be disclosed to the eyes of the public.

How Could People Learn About Your Bankruptcy Filing?

When you file for bankruptcy, you must name everyone you are indebted. The court will then notify those parties of your filing. Included in the act of notifying your creditors is also, typically, an action of Automatic Stay, where those creditors cannot harass you while your case is pending.

Information about your case can also be found online in court records.

When your case is closed, it will likely have an impact on your credit report. A footprint of your bankruptcy can be seen in your credit score for probably the next decade, existing as a notice to any of your future potential creditors.

What is Included in New York’s Bankruptcy Filing Records?

It is natural to worry about all your ‘dirty laundry’ being aired out for all to see in a bankruptcy file’s public record. However, while your bankruptcy will be made public, the information available to others is limited and never likely to make front-page news.

Information included in New York City’s bankruptcy filing records typically includes:

  • Debtor’s name (your name)
  • The judge’s name
  • The date that you filed your bankruptcy claim
  • The official document you are filing
  • All petitions and motions related to the bankruptcy filing
  • The type of bankruptcy claimed
  • Attorney and trustee details, if and when applicable
  • An accounting of personal assets
  • Case number
  • The current status of the case

Is it Possible to Expunge Records of Bankruptcy?

Unfortunately, it is not possible to have bankruptcy records expunged from court filings or from your personal records. However, it may be possible to have those records sealed, which would then make them invisible and inaccessible to members of the general public.

Not all bankruptcy cases can be sealed. The New York courts may take it under consideration if they believe that the public-facing information could be a threat to personal safety.