Bankruptcy: A Need To Know Basis

October 13, 2011 by  Filed under: Bankruptcy 

There are many myths about bankruptcy and one of the most common is the fear that everyone will find out you filed for bankruptcy. Although bankruptcy filings are a matter of public record, your case will not be plastered on a billboard or posted in the newspaper. In fact, no one in your personal life will even know unless you tell them.

Keeping It To Yourself

Unless someone is snooping through legal records, your friends and family will not find out about your bankruptcy. This hardly ever happens and you have no reason to fear your private business getting out. Yes, your bankruptcy filing is a part of public record, but those records are kept public for legal and court use only. Unless someone has reason to spy on you or investigate your business, you can bet your secret is safe. So if someone in your life has no role in your bankruptcy, don’t tell them.

The exception being a spouse or ex-spouse. Filing for bankruptcy in marriage or after a divorce can complicate things. Obviously your spouse will, and should, know about your bankruptcy before you even file. They may be partially responsible for certain debts and could be significantly impacted by the filing. Always discuss your debt relief options with your spouse, as they may opt out of the filing or be better served if filing jointly with you.

Informing your ex-spouse can be quite complicated. If there are no jointly held debts that will become part of the filing, and no divided assets at risk, you can keep your bankruptcy filing to yourself. However, if your ex-spouse is jointly responsible for a debt you seek to be discharged, or has possession of an asset that may be at risk, you should inform them of your decision to file.

Legal Protection

Many people worry about their employer finding out about their bankruptcy and losing their job. It is very rare for a current employer to find out about your status as there is no legal need to check your credit history while employed. However, some employers check credit histories as part of the hiring process, which could reveal your bankruptcy filing.

You can rest assured that this cannot happen, at least not legally. Bankruptcy laws prohibit employers, or potential employers, from discriminating against you based on your bankruptcy filing status. If you feel that your current, or a potential, employer took discriminatory action based on your bankruptcy status, consult an attorney to discuss your options. You may be entitled to obtain your job back or be granted severance pay.

Christopher understands that financial hardships can affect honest, hard-working people. Growing up in a very blue collar family and rural area of Indiana, money didn’t always come easy for his parents. The struggles his family faced in his childhood made a significant impression on his business philosophy today. As a Fort Worth bankruptcy attorney his practice has given him the opportunity to directly impact the lives of many people.

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