Most people who file for bankruptcy understand that their creditors need to know about it—but who else will find out? You may be concerned about employers, landlords, family or friends finding out that you filed for bankruptcy. Or you may worry about damage to your professional reputation after a bankruptcy filing.
Although bankruptcy filings are public records, chances are good that only your creditors will know about your bankruptcy—unless you tell someone yourself. Some local newspapers do print the names of those who file bankruptcy in that community. But most papers no longer have the space, the staff, or the inclination to do so.
Can Your Employer or Landlord Find Out About Your Bankruptcy?
The court isn’t required to notify your employer or landlord of your bankruptcy. However, they may be notified if:
- your employer or landlord is also your creditor (say, if you owe back rent)
- a creditor is garnishing your wages (the court will tell your employer to stop the garnishment after you file), or
- you file Chapter 13 bankruptcy and you want your plan payment to be withheld from your paycheck.
When you’re trying to find a job or rent an apartment, your potential employer or landlord may find out about your bankruptcy. Credit bureaus will record your bankruptcy, and it will remain on your credit record for ten years. If an employer or landlord—or anyone else, checks your credit report, they will know about your bankruptcy.
The law prohibits government employers—federal, state, or local—from denying you a job because of your bankruptcy filing. But those restrictions don’t bind private employers or landlords. Often, the best strategy is to be candid about your bankruptcy filing and make clear why you are still a good candidate for the job or home.
Will Family or Friends Know If You File for Bankruptcy?
It’s not likely that family members or friends will find out about your bankruptcy. But they will probably need to know if:
- you owe money to a friend or family member
- a family member or friend has co-signed a loan with you, or
- you owe spousal maintenance or child support.
The court will notify these folks as they would any other creditor.
To learn more about what happens when you file for bankruptcy, see Legal Consumer’s bankruptcy learning center.