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Will my Chapter 13 filing be listed in the newspaper in my county/state? Is it necessary to make debtors look like criminals?

Williamsburg, VA |

I have had little or no advice from the lawyer representing me. I do not know, have not been told, and am only reading about it on the internet...I have no idea whether I will be listed in the newspaper like a criminal.

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Attorney answers 5


USE your lawyer; ask him/her this question.

Also take with a grain if salt any legal information you research on-line.

READ THIS BEFORE CALLING OR EMAILING ME: I am licensed in the Commonwealth of Virginia, addressing your issue does not create an attorney-client relationship and I AM NOT providing you legal advice. You should speak with an attorney to whom you have provided all the facts, before you take steps that may impact your legal rights. I am not obligated to answer subsequent emails or phone calls unless you have hired me. I wish you the best of luck with your situation.


Many years ago, in small communities, it was common to publish the names of debtors. Today, it's a very rare thing to see and bankruptcy simply isn't viewed with the scarlet letter stigma that it once carried. Bankruptcy is a matter of public record, so if a newspaper in your area thinks its newsworthy, then they can publish the information as they deem fit. It's just not likely for it to be printed in your local newspaper.

Advice on this forum is for informational purposes only and should never be mistaken as a substitute for legal advice. If you are in need of legal advice, you should consult local legal counsel.


You have a lawyer, call him or her. Practices may vary, but in most areas the only bankruptcys that are reported in the paper are those that are newsworthy. If your name was Donald Trump or Barack Obama or John Boehner, it would be news and would definitely be reported. If you are a prominent figure in your community, it may be reported. if you are not a public figure, it is very unlikely that your bankruptcy will be reported even though it is a matter of public record. Short answer is it could be, but that would be very unusual.

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Neither average bankruptcy filers nor average criminals have their names listed in the newspaper. Only newsworthy court filings are reported.

You can reach Harkess & Salter LLC at (303) 531-5380 or Stephen Harkess is an attorney licensed in the state and federal courts of Colorado. This answer is for general information only and does not create an attorney client relationship between Stephen Harkess or Harkess & Salter LLC and any person. You should schedule a consultation with an attorney to discuss the specifics of your legal issues.


In the Hampton Roads area the primary publication that lists bankruptcy filings if "Inside Business", a Virginian Pilot product. It is not widely distributed. I am not sure if any of the smaller publications in Williamsburg lists bankruptcy filings. I have not heard that the "Daily Press", which is the Peninsula newspaper, lists filings.

You should also be aware that bankruptcy docketing information is now showing up on the internet also. Generally, this only occurs or is a problem when your name is very unusual. Otherwise, if your name is more common it is buried under numerous pages of other search result data.

I hope this helps. I also hope that your attorney not being able to answer this easy question is not a sign that they don't do much bankruptcy. If you need more information you may call or e-mail me via our website below.

John G. Merna
The Merna Law Group
Newport News & Virginia Beach

This answer in no way creates an attorney-client relationship. The answer is not a complete answer and requires additional facts in order to provide the best options. The submitter accepts the risk of relying on such an incomplete answer and waives any claims of damages for doing so. As stated in the answer the submitter should contact a qualified bankruptcy attorney is discuss these issues further before any action is taken. Any action taken without advise and counsel of a qualified attorney is inadvisable.