Who will know that you’ve filed bankruptcy?
The answer is: it depends.
Your Creditors, your bank–Yes.
Certainly all of your creditors will know because they will recieve a ‘Notice of the Filing’ when your petition is filed. The Notice tells creditors that you’ve filed bankrutpcy and tells them that they might have a claim. The Notice also tells creditors deadlines that apply to your case (such as the deadline for creditors to object to discharge).
Can you leave a creditor off your petition?
Not unless you want to risk not getting discharged of the debt you left off, and possibly having your entire case hit the skids. Even if you leave a creditor off, it is highly likely that they will get notice as a result of the databases that report bankruptcy filings to credit issuers.
Your family and friends–Maybe.
Yes, your family and friends will get notice if they are a creditor. They will also get notice if you’ve given them something of value in the year or two prior to filing, and if that thing is not exempt.
Your neighbors, your casual acquaintances–Probably not.
It is very uncommon for casual acquaintances to know that you’ve filed bankruptcy. Newspapers don’t generally publish a list of names of people who’ve filed bankruptcy. The local news doesn’t cover it unless there is something scandalous about the case.
Your employer will know you’ve filed Chapter 13 if your Chapter 13 plan payment is paid by your employer (this is usually how it’s paid, but there are other options). Your boss will find out if he or she runs your credit report after you file bankruptcy. This can be very bad if you work for a company that discriminates against bankruptcy filers.
Banks, law firms, other employers who have a fiduciary duty with other people’s money. Though the bankruptcy code protects you from discrimination for filing bankruptcy, it is hard to prevent ‘pretextual’ firing.
When we meet, I’ll explain this to you and talk about how your emploment might be threatened by filing.
Look for Congress to pass laws protecting us from ‘pretexual’ firing. Until then, Call me Attorney Shannon McDuffie to find about about bankruptcy’s breath of fresh start.
Shannon McDuffie (404) 418-8879