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Public Knowledge of Bankruptcy

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Hello All...

I have the usual Bankruptcy story...lots of credit debt due to helping family members, as well as just irresponsibility that I take accountability for...I have been struggling with the morality of filing chapter 7...until recently was on time every month but barely paying the minimum...so, with about 35K in unsecured credit, I filed chapter 7 today.

Here is my big issue...I am a relatively well known Anglican Minister in my city...I know that Bankruptcy is public knowledge, but how likely is it that people will know about my bankruptcy. How likely is it that the media will pick up on this? Two of my credit cards were through local credit unions....I feel like an incredible failure but I felt I was at the end of my rope.

Any thoughts, comments or opinions?

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While bankruptcies are public records, you probably won't run into anyone who knows that you've filed. It used to be that bankruptcy filings were listed in the local papers, but I believe the practice has largely fallen out of use, mostly because there are so MANY people filing it would take up a LOT or precious copy space in the paper. Check your local papers and see if there's any BK's being published in the 'legal notices' section.

Unless someone at the credit unions is a big mouth, you probably have little to worry about. Its not the public shame it used to be, although in your position I can well understand not wanting it to be the subject of gossip.

As for the morality of filing for bankruptcy, my opinion, and that of many others here and most lawyers, is that its a BUSINESS decision, there's nothing 'immoral' about it. The banks and creditors you filed on consider bankruptcy nothing more than business, they write it off their books and the losses are in their budgets, and absorbed.

The Bankruptcy law was put into place to give people a 'fresh start' in life w/o the heavy burden of being indentured to creditors for the rest of your days. You're not stealing, you're not committing fraud, and not being able to pay your bills is NOT a criminal offense. Bad things happen to good people and LIFE happens to all of us, and its not always pretty or fair. You do what you have to do to move on with your life and make the best of it.

Ok.. my sermon's done 8) :D

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Hi TryingtoImprove,

Welcome, I feel your pain.

You know the answer here... I don't need to tell you.

Of course everyone has the possibility of knowing about the bankruptcy.

You know that if you try to keep it under wraps people will use it because they know you are trying to keep it under wraps. I wouldn't take a full page ad in the newspaper but you have to plan for everyone knowing.

Come up with a understandable SHORT "Sound Bite" to explain this when your are challenged. (Short sweet and to the point.)

Maybe if they paid you a little more money this wouldn't have been necessary, Ministers aren't know for their High earnings potential...

Don't sweat it and just get ready for the negative energy that will come your way... Remember 40% of your congregation has credit "dings."

President Harry Truman went Bankrupt 4 times before becoming President (twice in one year !!!). Walt Disney went Bankrupt 9 times before hitting it big.

Did you steal from the church like Jim and Tammy Baker?

Did you take your earnings and pay prostitues for weird stuff like the other Tele-Evangelists instead of pay your bills?

Did You swindle BILLONS of dollars from a pensioners or investors a la, Bernie Ebbers, Jeffery Siking, or Kenneth Lay?

Did you let relatives put the touch on you to help them?

Did you make a few mistakes managing the meager salary you get?

If you can't answer Yes to more than three of the above questions, forget about getting into any really good country clubs here in Washington DC.:wink:

God Bless and because of who you are I HAVE to do a commercial for the web site I do for my church...

(My church web site is better than your church web site... nah-nah) :lol:


Good Luck...

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The Bankruptcy law was put into place to give people a 'fresh start' in life w/o the heavy burden of being indentured to creditors for the rest of your days.

Bad things happen to good people and LIFE happens to all of us, and its not always pretty or fair. You do what you have to do to move on with your life and make the best of it.

Ok.. my sermon's done

Way to go Lady In Red - Yeah this isn't Sixteenth Century Europe - Debtors Prison and permanent Serfdom...

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hi breathing_easier,

Thanks for the kind comment about the site... ..and Wow that's two United (Untied LOL ) Methodists on this forum.

And to think I was a little nervous about doing my little commercial announcement :lol:

Best wishes,

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I would not waste a second wrestling with the morality of bk. It truely is a business decision at every level. Look at what all of these airlines did using the bk code. They set aside collective bargaining agreements and slashed contractual benefits for retirees in order to save the business. I saw no tears from the CEO's as they announced these changes that altered the lives of tens of thousands. It was all business.

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One should never file or not file BK based on what people may think. However, a bankruptcy filing is a matter of public record and anyone with access to a computer can look up and download your file for many years. Most newspapers do in fact print bankruptcies. Credit reporting lasts seven to ten years, but the public record as a federal case file lasts indefinately. Because your file will soon be freely available to anyone, you should disseminate only essential details and safeguard your SSI number. Nothing is private with respect to the U.S. Government so be very very cautious!

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Make that 3 Methodists, me too. 8)

Very nice site. Prayers for the safe return of Trinity. I think having the amber alerts on your site is just outstanding :D

Trying to Improve: My best to you and everyone is right, do not let this worry you. Your energies are for your congregation, not the Creditors. :!:

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If you are truely concerned about your image with the local credit unions, then amend your paperwork to remove them from the BK and just keep paying them. Or reaffirm the debt as part of the BK proceedings.

I personally would not do this myself on unsecured debt, but it is a matter of choice (and I am only presenting a choice here).

The good news is BK doesn't hurt for as long as the creditors would like it to -- unless they break the FCRA law. 3 years of no nasties and you qualify for a FHA home loan. You can probably get a car loan in about a year, although at a higher rate. And secured credit card offers will start arriving in your mailbox about a week after your BK is final.

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Hiya Codger,

Another Methodist Here, bet the CA's think all Methodists are dead beats now LOL! The reason we are is we are so kind spirited and give it all away to others LOL.Thats right !
LOL! Is it OK if a token Baptist got involved in the thread!


I never meant to offend anyone, I just trying to cheer up TryingToImprove

Of course Everyone is welcome


(.. just click on the link to my church website to help our hit count! This is another poor attempt at humor, I'm just kidding...) :roll:

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  • 4 weeks later...

Just kidding. LOL.

The opinion is simple: it's a business decision, as posted by a previous poster. Nothing, and I mean NOTHING of what you do is going to be hidden. It's public knowledge one way or another, and I can simply tell you that hiding it (not that I believe you'd try to do that, at all - honestly) -- or thinking it will be hidden gives you a false sense of security.

Why not address your congregation and simply spill the beans, up front, to everyone, immediately. In fact, use your experience as a launching point for 'money management', 'wise spending', etc -- biblical themes on money, etc.

PLEASE NOTE that I'm not even hinting at whatever caused you to have your difficulties in life -- I honestly don't care because it's none of my darned business and you probably have VERY good reasons.

The fact is that people ARE judgemental, and by NOT addressing this, or NOT using this as a 'teaching moment', it can be very bad for relationships.

Trust me on this.


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  • 2 weeks later...

My husband told me he was glad I was smart enough to do it. Well, he called the attorney who referred us to the bk attorney. I just followed the attorneys advice.

Having those debt issues behind us (and I say us because it did effect both of us) has been a blessing.

I don't hide my bk. I have told many friends about it. 8-) (cute emoticon)

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Presbyterian here grateful for the feedback, even if it wasn't intended for me. I'm just learning to get beyond the "what would people think" stage and especially "what would my mother who has never had a credit card in her life and would never so much as borrow sugar from a neighbor" think. Ugh, the baggage we burden ourselves with... :(

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