A bankruptcy stays on two records that are of concern to most consumers. The most pressing concern is often one's credit record, which is held by the U.S. agencies Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. However, it's also important to keep in mind that even after a bankruptcy falls off the credit record, the federal bankruptcy court maintains permanent records of all bankruptcy proceedings that other people can easily access.
Federal Bankruptcy Records
All bankruptcies, even if not completed, are always available by request through the federal bankruptcy court or private agencies that keep track of bankruptcies.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
A Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which forgives almost all debts, stays on your credit report for 10 years.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
Chapter 13 cases, which are repayment plans restructured under court approval, will remain on your credit reports for 7 years.
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Accounts in Bankruptcy
All accounts included in your Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, including lawsuits, should reflect a zero balance and state it was included in bankruptcy. These entries usually last 7 years, though in Chapter 7 cases some accounts may remain the full 10 years.
It is also important to remember some newspapers publish names of people in the community who filed bankruptcy, especially prominent people. These archives could theoretically be accessed forever.