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How much of my private life will be revealed in bankruptcy?

Nearly everyone has something about themselves they are not particularly interested in sharing with the rest of the world. Being in financial difficulty can be one of those things. Whether you live in Illinois or any other state, the fear of being socially stigmatized by revelations of your situation can be enough to keep you from taking any action at all. That's not a good idea.

There can be no denying that there is a certain invasiveness that comes with filing for bankruptcy. As such, it is something that deserves to be examined carefully with an attorney's help if you are considering seeking the protections of bankruptcy. It is fair to balance if enduring a short period of transparency is worth the price of getting back on solid financial ground for the rest of your life.

To give you some insight into what you might have to deal with we offer these observations. But keep in mind that every case is different and so it is important to have the specifics of your situation fully assessed by someone with skill and experience.

A bankruptcy filing is a matter of public record. It has to be if it is to work. One of the key purposes of filing is to hold creditors at bay while you work with the court to find workable solutions to your difficulties. But because the case is indexed under your social security number, it's most likely that only your creditors will know about it.

In the case of Chapter 13, you will be expected to show that you have income enough to meet current living expenses and at least some surplus money each month to put toward paying your debts. Court oversight is such that you might have to get permission to spend anything outside of a court-approved budget during the period of bankruptcy -- usually three to five years.

In Chapter 7, the exposure may be greater because a third party trustee will have authority to seek the sale of your assets of value in order to pay creditors.

The essential element when exploring debt relief options is to be sure you know what all the options are and what their ramifications may be for you.

Source: FindLaw, "Is Bankruptcy a Good Idea for You?" accessed Dec. 30, 2015

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