You may have heard the phrase that “filing bankruptcy is a matter of public record.” What exactly does that mean? If you file for bankruptcy, can people access your personal, financial information? In Burrow & Associates’ latest blog, we’re explaining the term public record and what it means for your bankruptcy case.
What is Considered “Public Record” in Georgia?
A public record is any information that someone can access without prior authorization, either through the court or another government entity. Some common examples include real property information, wills, civil judgments, and tax liens. Those details are considered public record. Alternatively, a tax return is not a public record. Yes, you do submit this information to a government entity, but seeing the financial details would require prior authorization.
Bankruptcy cases and court proceedings are public record in Georgia. Court proceedings will almost always be public record, unless the judge seals the records. While the bankruptcy filing itself is public record in Georgia, there will be some information withheld from public view, such as social security numbers, birthdays, and children’s names. Bankruptcy filings will also appear on credit reports for anywhere from seven to ten years.
How to Access Public Bankruptcy Records Through the Georgia Courts
While, technically, bankruptcies are public record in Georgia, it would take someone several steps to access the information through the court system. When a person files for bankruptcy with the court, the court clerk uploads the file into PACER (the Federal court’s online case management and filing system). In order to access PACER and view bankruptcy filings, you must have a paid PACER account and log-in information – typically, only attorneys and court personnel have these. Even with PACER access, part of the bankruptcy public record will always be redacted. Financial account numbers, social security numbers, full birthdays, and children’s names will not be displayed.
How to Access Public Bankruptcy Records in the Newspaper
Another way to access a bankruptcy filing in Georgia is through the local newspaper. Publishing bankruptcies in the newspaper used to be a common practice. Papers would print an announcement in the Legal Notices section when an individual, local business, or larger corporation filed for bankruptcy or appeared in bankruptcy court. However, with corporate bankruptcies becoming more common, newspapers are now less likely to report on bankruptcy filings – unless the filing would also significantly impact jobs or the economy. Bankruptcy notices do occasionally happen, however. For example, newspapers in Blue Ridge, Rome, and Augusta do still print legal notices, including bankruptcies.
Have Questions About Bankruptcy? Contact Burrow & Associates
If you have questions about bankruptcy or the bankruptcy process, please reach out to Burrow & Associates at (678) 323-2394 or via our online contact page. We are currently offering a pricing special and will file your case for ZERO money down.
Our team of expert Atlanta bankruptcy lawyers are dedicated to helping you, whatever your legal needs may be. We accept all regional filings and are ready to help you safely and responsibly get out of debt. When you call Burrow & Associates, you can be sure that whoever you are speaking to will be courteous, professional, and knowledgeable. We believe in transparency and personalized service. Don’t wait another day to start your path to financial freedom. Burrow & Associates has convenient bankruptcy office locations in Athens, Conyers, Duluth, Gainesville, Kennesaw, and Morrow.