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Is Bankruptcy a Public Record in Michigan?

If you are filing for bankruptcy, you may be wondering about the accessibility of your records to the public. 

Who Can Access Michigan Bankruptcy Records?

In Michigan, bankruptcy records are indeed deemed public records, meaning they can be accessed by the general public. This accessibility ensures transparency and fairness in the legal system, allowing anyone to inquire about bankruptcy filings and gain necessary information regarding an individual or business’s financial status. [1]

One primary method for accessing bankruptcy records in Michigan is through the federal court’s Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) system. PACER is an online database that provides public access to federal court records, including bankruptcy records. PACER requires registration and may involve nominal fees for accessing certain records. [2]

Apart from PACER, individuals interested in Michigan bankruptcy records can also visit the public access terminals located at various district bankruptcy courts throughout the state. These terminals allow visitors to search and view bankruptcy records free of charge. By physically visiting these locations, anyone can access relevant bankruptcy information directly.

Who Can Access Michigan Bankruptcy Records?

Is All the Information in My Bankruptcy Record Accessible?

Bankruptcy records typically include a comprehensive range of information, such as the applicant’s name, address, social security number, debts, assets, income, and expenses. Court filings, legal documents, financial statements, and any correspondence related to the bankruptcy case may also be a part of these public records.

This wealth of information allows creditors, financial institutions, potential employers, and even the curious general public to learn about an individual’s financial history, their obligations, and the progress made towards resolving their debts.

While bankruptcy records are public, the process of accessing and retrieving them is not necessarily straightforward. Interested parties may need to visit the courthouse or bankruptcy court where the case was filed to request these records.

They can also use online databases provided by the court system or specialized service providers that offer bankruptcy record searches. These online platforms often require the user to pay a fee or subscription to access the desired information.

Can My Bankruptcy Records be Sealed from the Public?

The sealing of bankruptcy records in Michigan is not a common practice. The bankruptcy process is intended to be transparent and open to the public, ensuring transparency and fairness among the involved parties. There are limited grounds on which bankruptcy records can be sealed.

One such rare instance where bankruptcy records may be sealed is when a compelling reason is presented to the court to protect an individual’s personal safety or prevent potential harm.

This might occur in cases where sensitive financial information if made public, could lead to harassment, identity theft, or other genuine concerns. These cases are exceptional and typically require significant evidence and compelling arguments to convince the court to grant record sealing.

While bankruptcy records are generally public, they might not be easily accessible to the average person. Interested parties must actively search for bankruptcy records by visiting the Office of the Clerk of Court, navigating through the appropriate channels, and paying fees.

The general public may not stumble upon bankruptcy records accidentally but would need to have a specific purpose or reason for seeking them out.

Can My Bankruptcy Records be Sealed from the Public?

Contact Frego Law today to discuss your bankruptcy options and start your journey toward financial freedom.


Can bankruptcy records affect someone's credit score?

When someone files for bankruptcy, it is seen as a major negative event and can lower their credit score. Bankruptcy remains on a person’s credit report for several years, depending on the type of bankruptcy filed. This can make it challenging to obtain new credit, loans, or favorable interest rates in the future. Lenders may view a bankruptcy filing as an increased risk and may be hesitant to extend credit to someone with a bankruptcy on their record.

How long do bankruptcy records remain on file in Michigan?

Chapter 7 bankruptcy records typically stay on file for ten years from the date of filing. Chapter 13 bankruptcy records typically stay on file for seven years from the date of filing. During this time, the bankruptcy information will be visible on a person’s credit report and may impact their ability to obtain credit, loans, or favorable interest rates. 

Can bankruptcy records be used against someone in employment decisions?

The Bankruptcy Code prohibits employment discrimination solely on the basis of bankruptcy, and employers may face legal consequences for such discrimination. Certain positions within the financial industry or those that involve handling large sums of money may require a credit check as part of the hiring process. A bankruptcy record could potentially impact an individual’s chances of being hired. 


[1] Credit Report Information and Disputes | Eastern District of Michigan | United States Bankruptcy Court. (n.d.).

[2] Public Access to Court Electronic Records | PACER: Federal Court Records. (2024, April 2).

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