What are Georgia Bankruptcy Records?
In Georgia, bankruptcy is a process to eliminate or pay off debt legally, at a reduced amount. Most times, the debts forgiven in bankruptcy are credit cards, medical bills, personal loans, student loans, and payday loans. A bankruptcy court is a special court in the federal court system’s hierarchy that addresses bankruptcy petitions.
There are three bankruptcy courts in Georgia, including Georgia Middle District Court, Georgia Northern District Court, and the Georgia Southern District Court. The District Courts maintain bankruptcy records in Georgia. Bankruptcy records filing and documentation are the sole responsibility of the court clerk. The general process of bankruptcy in Georgia starts when the debtor files a petition in a court. Persons needing debt relief can file bankruptcy and must meet the requirement of Chapter 7 bankruptcy or Chapter 13 bankruptcy before proceeding.
Unless expunged, bankruptcy records are accessible to members of the public upon request. Georgia bankruptcy records are also obtainable on third-party websites such as courtreords.org. Also, bankruptcy records are reviewable through public access to electronic court records (PACER) service. Using this portal would require creating an account and paying a search and copy fee.
What do Georgia Bankruptcy Records Contain?
Georgia bankruptcy records consist of details of financial transactions and information of persons or entities involved, including:
- Personal information of the person who filed for bankruptcy
- Value assets
- Creditor’s claim
- Details of funds and transaction
- Notes regarding meetings and phone calls
Are Bankruptcy Records Public Information?
Following Georgia Open Records Act, records generated by government parastatals are public records that can be accessible to members of the public. However, files sealed or expunged by the court are not obtainable by public requestors. Hence, bankruptcy records are available for public inspection, except the records are expunged.
Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching simpler, as they are not limited by geographic location, and search engines on these sites may help when starting a search for a specific or multiple records. To begin using such a search engine on a third-party or government website, interested parties usually must provide:
- The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile
- The location or assumed location of the record or person involved. This includes information such as the city, county, or state that person resides in or was accused in.
Third-party sites are independent from government sources, and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party sites may vary.
How to Get Georgia Bankruptcy Records
Bankruptcy records are available through the PACER (Public Access Court Electronic Records) system, and interested persons must register and login to gain access. Information revealed on the PACER portal includes the name of the judge and trustee, court date, copies of proofs of claims, names and addresses of creditor attorneys, copies of all bankruptcy documents, and the bankruptcy case number. PACER charges $.10 per page. For online requests, applicants are to fill a request form.
Interested persons can procure copies of bankruptcy records in person from the clerk’s office in the district court. There are public computer terminals at the clerk’s office where members of the public can view bankruptcy files for free. However, obtaining physical copies costs $.10 per page, while certified copies attract $11.00.
How do I Find Out if My Bankruptcy Case is Closed in Georgia?
Any district court in Georgia that orders the closure of a bankruptcy case implies that the creditors of the debtor, by law, are to refrain from engaging in any act of debt collection. Although lawsuits vary, the debtor may get a full discharge or a partial pardon of debt. Residents of Georgia can discover the status of bankruptcy cases by contacting the clerk’s office of the district court jurisdiction in person, by mail, or through the telephone. Copies of bankruptcy discharge are sent to all creditors, trustees, and the debtor using the debtor’s record of addresses. The clerk’s office may charge for this search process. For the online alternative, log into the PACER system to track the bankruptcy case through the case number or filing date.
Can a Bankruptcy be Expunged in Georgia?
Although the record restriction law in Georgia allows for the expungement of records, there is an exception with bankruptcy records as the files do not fall under crimes against the state. The state of Georgia does not have a bankruptcy removal law. According to the United States bankruptcy removal statute 28 U.S. C. section 1452, any party can remove any cause of action as long as it is within bankruptcy jurisdictions. A motion to dismiss bankruptcy cases can be filed through the divisional court office to the credit bureau by sending a dispute letter attached with a statement and copy of all process and pleadings from the court of record. Interested persons should file the motion through the district or division clerk under the state or federal court jurisdiction where the civil action is pending. The notice of removal filed by the debtor must contain a statement detailing that the removal of the claim of action does not consent to judgment by the bankruptcy court. A copy of the notice of removal must be sent to all parties to the removed claim of action.