Protecting Privacy In a Bankruptcy Proceeding

Struggling with overwhelming debt can be an uphill battle where the odds seem insurmountable, but you still have options that can grant you relief. Filing for bankruptcy in this day and age still has a stigma attached to it because it still has a negative connotation among the majority of Americans. The fact of the matter, however, is that it is an effective tool to regain financial stability. One of the main concerns that people have when filing for bankruptcy is the protection of their privacy. Although there is an ever-increasing number of individuals filing for bankruptcy all across the country, the social and professional stigma attached to filing is a great source of concern.

In the digital age, a person’s private and confidential information can be found online by anyone who has a good idea of what they are doing. Not only this, one should be careful when supplying their personal financial details to their attorney. If they request electronic transmission of documents, ensure they use an encrypted connection and server, since cybersecurity threats are real, particularly among small businesses including attorneys. Regarding public notice, it is understandable that people are worried about protecting their privacy when filing a bankruptcy. The basic questions that individuals filing for bankruptcy usually ask are:

  • Are bankruptcy filings public record?
  • Will my employer know If I file for bankruptcy?
  • Who do I have to tell that I am filing bankruptcy?
  • How long will a bankruptcy stay on my credit report?
  • Is the information I give to a lawyer during a free consultation protected?

The answers to these questions are provided below.

Bankruptcy Filings Are A Matter Of Public Record

A bankruptcy filing is a public record throughout the country. Generally speaking, your bankruptcy filing is in the public domain where anyone could access it but very few people actually know how to access that information. Bankruptcy information does not show in a simple online searches and the only way to access bankruptcy information is through a paid service program called PACER that contains bankruptcy information for individuals nationwide.

You Are Not Required To Disclose Your Filing Of Bankruptcy To Anyone

An individual does not have to inform their employer or anyone else who is unrelated to the situation that you have filed for bankruptcy. As your bankruptcy is public record, an employer could find out that you filed bankruptcy if they use PACER or run your credit report. Certain professions, those related to the financial industry can require you to disclose whether you have filed for a bankruptcy or not.

Bankruptcy Impacts Your Credit Score For 7 up to 10 Years Depending On The Chapter Filed

The impact of bankruptcy on a credit score depends on the type of bankruptcy filed and the timing of the filing. For Chapter 7, the bankruptcy remains on your credit report for 10 years and for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, it stays on your credit report for 7 years. What’s more, bankruptcy does not (in most cases) resolve tax debt owed to the I.R.S. It’s advisable that you contact an expert in tax relief to explore what your options are.

Information Discussed With An Attorney Is Confidential Under Attorney-Client Privilege

The information that an individual provides to an attorney during a consultation is confidential and cannot be disclosed to any third-party. Another way to protect an individual’s privacy during their consultation is to set up a remote appointment from the privacy of your home via telephone or video chat software such as Skype.

If you want to get rid of your debt issues and repair the damage done to your credit score, it is imperative to contact an experienced and competent Virginia bankruptcy attorney to get you started on the road to financial freedom.

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