How to Protect Your Privacy During a New York Bankruptcy

Starting the New York bankruptcy process you probably have some concerns. You may worry about losing your car or personal property. Other people are distressed about a potential impact on their credit score and ability to apply for a credit card in the future. However, a vast number of the apprehensions about New York bankruptcy are regarding privacy and protection of personal information.

Are Privacy Concerns Valid During Bankruptcy?

Concerns about privacy are valid. Filing for bankruptcy can be the first step towards a healthy and vibrant financial future. But financial freedom can seem unattainable when you start the New York bankruptcy process. Bankruptcy requires turning over all of your financial information, records of property ownership, and a great deal of other personal information.

You are required to disclose your name, social security number, income, budget, debt, dependents, inheritance, and other financial information to the bankruptcy court. You must even give the name of each creditor. Plus, your New York bankruptcy petition is a public record, which means anyone can request a copy. For many people, this doesn’t feel like freedom at all.

Given the scrupulous degree of investigation and review by a bankruptcy court and trustee, how can you protect your privacy during a New York bankruptcy?

Don’t Disclose Your Bankruptcy at Work or Socially

Maintaining a semblance of privacy during bankruptcy often rests in your own hands. As you disclose your bankruptcy filing to family members and friends, it becomes more likely that a third party or employer will find out about the bankruptcy. In New York, you don’t have to disclose your personal bankruptcy to anyone unrelated to the case, including your employer.

Certain entities, such as employers and credit card companies, can learn of a bankruptcy through a credit check. However, most people won’t have the information or desire to go looking for your bankruptcy petition. While part of the public record and a court document, the only place to search and recover your New York bankruptcy petition is through a system called PACER. This online record catalog is utilized by lawyers, government officials, and background check companies all the time, but rarely accessed by other individuals.

Concerns with Identity Theft After Bankruptcy

While keeping quiet about your New York bankruptcy may prevent friends and family from learning about the filing, there is another set of concerns after bankruptcy. All of the personal information you enter on your bankruptcy petition is now available online. If one bad actor has accessed your petition, including name, address, and social security number that information could be widely shared.

First and foremost, your bankruptcy lawyer must properly redact and refine the information on your bankruptcy petition. According to Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure, certain personal information can be redacted on your public filings. This allowance is found in Rule 9037 of the Rules.

The allowed redactions are: only showing the last four digits of your social security number, redacting the day and month of your birth, and only showing the last four digits of a financial account. Lastly, if a minor’s information is included anywhere, the name can be redacted to just the minor’s initials, but those over the age of majority are not afforded the same allowance.

Handling these redactions upfront is essential because the bankruptcy petition and other filings can’t be changed at a later date. Failure to hide or redact the information is considered a waiver of the protections and rights under Rule 9037. Questions about what information to redact and what must be disclosed on a New York bankruptcy petition can be directed to a New York lawyer.

Schedule a Bankruptcy Consultation

At Simon Haysom, LCC, we begin every client relationship with a free, initial consultation. This one-hour conversation is extremely helpful in advising a potential client about what type of bankruptcy is appropriate and how to file, and it is an essential conversation for protection of privacy and confidentiality. This initial consultation is entirely confidential between you and our legal team.

During an initial consultation, you can freely ask questions about the New York bankruptcy process and your personal finances without any concern of disclosure. Schedule your initial consultation by calling 845-294-3596.



The information in this blog post (“Post”) is provided for general informational purposes only, and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information contained in this Post should be construed as legal advice from Simon Haysom, LLC or the individual author, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter.


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