Conduct a Bankruptcy Public Records Search
The federal as well as the state bankruptcy laws permit honest individuals with an opportunity to make a fresh start. When a business organization or an individual is unable to pay back the debts that are due as a result of certain situations such as medical emergencies that run up a high expanse, high credit card debts, divorce or even losing a job they have the option to file for a bankruptcy petition.
In the United States, the bankruptcy records fall under the federal jurisdiction. But each state in the United States also has its own laws regarding the bankruptcy filings.
Creation of the Bankruptcy Records
In accordance to Section 107 of the Federal Bankruptcy Code all the filings regarding bankruptcy is considered as a public record. Once an individual, a business organization or business partnership files for a bankruptcy petition it is mandatory to serve a public notice of the bankruptcy filing to the creditors that informs them that the debtor has opted for bankruptcy protection.
To learn about the details of the bankruptcy public cases or records individuals need to search the court records. The court records on the public bankruptcy cases will provide details such as the identities of the debtors, the parties involved, the amount of money involved as well as the name of the creditors.
The information on the bankruptcy public records can be obtained from various resources. You can search for the public bankruptcy records by using the social security number of the individual or the organization filing for the bankruptcy protection petition. You can also conduct your search by using the case number or the name of the debtor.
Information about the Bankruptcy Public Records
According to the constitution, there are six chapters dealing with the bankruptcy laws. These include Chapter 7, Chapter 9, Chapter 11, Chapter 12, Chapter 13 and Chapter 15.
The Chapter 7 covers the details of the Straight Bankruptcy Laws. Filing a bankruptcy case under this Chapter enables an individual to erase all his or her past debts and start afresh. Chapter 7 is also referred to as the liquidation chapter. Liquidation is a process which lets a trustee to sell any assets of the debtor that is non-exempt and distribute the money among the debtor’s creditors. A bankruptcy case under Chapter 7 can be filed by any individuals, organizations, married couples or even by business partners.
Chapter 11 or the reorganization chapter offers individuals, organizations and business partnerships and organizations an opportunity to reorganize their debt by means of a sound financial plan or structure which is acceptable to the courts as well as the companies or organizations to whom the concerned debtor owns the dues without having to sell off their assets. This process enables the debtors to pay the creditors over a certain period of time and become financially productive again.
The Chapter 13 deals with the cases that fall under the Wage Earners’ bankruptcy filing process. This chapter provides guidelines for bankruptcy filing procedures for the wage earners. This chapter is similar to Chapter 11 in the sense that it allows the wage earners to repay their debts over a period of time by means of a concrete financial plan which is approved by the court as well as the creditors.
Information Available to the Public
The information contained in the bankruptcy public records can be quite detailed including information such as the list of the creditors, name of the debtor, amount of money involved along with the names of the attorneys as well as the judges involved in the proceedings. The information may also include the current status of the case, dispositions, various filings and the chronology of the filings and events involved.
The various documents available on the bankruptcy filings from the court records include schedules, forms and attachments that are submitted to the court. The federal bankruptcy law was however amended in 2003 to protect certain bits of personal details contained in the bankruptcy records from being made available to the public. Before 2003 it was possible to acquire the social security number of the debtor from a bankruptcy case filing. At present the first five digits of the debtor’s social security number is removed from the records that are available to the general public. This provision was incorporated to protect the filers from identity thefts.
Accessing the Bankruptcy Public Records
The records of the bankruptcy filing cases can be obtained from the PACER website, the National Archives as well as from the Federal Record Retrieval Service and the website of the various bankruptcy courts.
Public Access to Court Electronic Records or PACER is the source that is most commonly used for the purpose of accessing the information about the bankruptcy filings, cases and records. This service is run by the administrative offices of the United States Courts and provides information on bankruptcy cases from the federal, district as well as at the appellate levels. To use this service you need to register and pay a fee of $0.08 per page.
The PACER website can be accessed from: http://pacer.psc.uscourts.gov/
To access the bankruptcy public records between the years 1940 and 1998 you can visit the website of the National Archives: http://www.archives.gov/ online by paying a fee of $25 per record. You will receive the copies of the requested record/s if available, from them via US Postal Service.
To access the information on the bankruptcy public records you can also visit the website of the Federal Record Retrieval Service: http://www.archives.gov/frc/forms/sf-135-intro.html or fromhere:http://www.archives.gov/research/court-records/bankruptcy.html.