The short answer is no.
Where Are Bankruptcies Listed?
They are stored on something called Public Access To Court Electronic Records. They are public, but people can only search after making a user name and password, and it asks for a credit card number. You can do a few searches for free, but eventually it asks for money. Also, it’s only really accurate for people searching by Social Security Number. You can’t search name accurately because there are too many people with the same name. It doesn’t let you search by address or employer.
While bankruptcy filings are public records, if someone wanted to access these records they would need a user name and a password to search. Additionally, no one will be notified of your bankruptcy filing except for companies that you owe money to. Meaning that filing for bankruptcy is a discreet process, and there is no reason for family members, friends, coworkers, or employers to know, unless you decide to inform them directly.
Why Do People File Bankruptcy In The First Place?
We also should remember that filing for bankruptcy is not something to be ashamed of. According to a survey done by the Kaiser Family Foundation over 40% of American adults are facing some sort of unpaid medical or dental bill, with 24% considering bankruptcy as their first option to solve said debt. Many people assume that bankruptcy filings are due to reckless spending, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth; In reality, most bankruptcy filings are due to some unexpected financial hardship, like a large medical bill or job loss, which can happen to anyone without warning.
Divorce and business failure also make up a large part of bankruptcy filings each year. The main factors for filing are generally caused by bad events over which people have no control such as an injury, job loss, or family problems. Most bankruptcies aren’t caused by financial irresponsibility. Hiring managers and mortgage companies know this, so if they see a bankruptcy on a credit report, they often like the candidate because it shows the candidate took action to get out of debt and improve their financial situation.
Oftentimes Bankruptcy Is More Responsible Than Other Options
Many responsible individuals turn to bankruptcy as a solution to overwhelming debt, which will free up some of their money and time, allowing them to take back control of their financial future. If you are facing more debt than you can pay back in 1-3 years, then the most responsible thing to do is to file bankruptcy so that you can support yourself and your family. The whole reason that the USA has strong bankruptcy laws is to allow people to recover after financial disasters so that they can get back on their feet without spending years living paycheck to paycheck trying to pay down debts.
So remember: while there is no shame in filing for bankruptcy of any kind, it is still a very quiet process, and nobody will be notified you filed other than the people or companies you owe money to. There are a fewer small towns in Minnesota that publish bankruptcy filings in local newspapers, but we have only seen it twice in our 40 years of experience and tens of thousands of successful cases.