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What Are Bankruptcy Records?

Bankruptcy records are a notation that an individual or couple filed bankruptcy within a court of law. Bankruptcy is the act of requesting debt forgiveness in exchange for a reduction in assets if applicable. Bankruptcy occurs when an individual or married couple cannot afford to pay his or her bills. The court can grant the individual a discharge of that debt, which means the creditors holding that debt cannot try to obtain those funds. Individuals do this when they are in dire financial situations and have no means of repaying their debt. Because it is a legal action, it is considered a public record.

Public records are available in most states for the public to have access to them. The amount of information included as well as the identifying information provided in these records will differ from one state to the next. In most situations, bankruptcy records will include basic information about the individual’s claim. There are several ways to gather this data. The most common method is to use a database search to locate the information on a specific person. This can be done through various online databases. Most bankruptcies occur in the local bankruptcy courts, not necessarily by county. Because these are federal courts, the information is not kept on a local basis.

Bankruptcy records remain open for at least ten years. These records often contain notations about the individuals filing for bankruptcy. The records include information on the individual’s request for the bankruptcy initially. For example, when an individual makes a claim to file, there is a period of time the creditors have the right to come forward to make claims on his o her estate. During this time, a public announcement of the pending action becomes clear and is often noted in newspapers or other public resources.

Once the bankruptcy is discharged by the court, the information is entered into the public record. This information includes the name of the individuals filing bankruptcy, the date the discharge occurred and the court in which it occurred. Individuals with wish to obtain additional information about the bankruptcy, including which creditors were discharged, will need to consult with the court to gather that information. This may or may not be accessible to the general public and is often dependent on the need for the information.

Bankruptcy records remain active for ten years, but still may be possible to locate after this time. The more information that is available about the filing, the better when conducting an online search for the data. Case numbers can be the most helpful, but information about the person’s name and address can also help.

The public does have access to these records in most states. In some cases, only basic information is provided. However, those who are filing bankruptcy should note that only those who perform an actual search for the individual’s name are likely to learn about these records. In most cases, the information is kept out of the public eye in terms of announcements of the discharge.

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