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North Carolina Bankruptcy Records

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Registered Licenses is not a consumer reporting agency as defined by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”). You understand and acknowledge that these reports are NOT “consumer reports” as defined by the FCRA. Your access and use of a report is subject to our Terms of Service and you expressly acknowledge that you are prohibited from using this service and this report to determine an individual’s eligibility for credit, insurance, employment or any other purpose regulated by the FCRA.

Are Bankruptcy Records Public in North Carolina?

Yes, bankruptcy records are public information per the North Carolina Public Records Act and the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Bankruptcy becomes public information immediately after filing, regardless of the eventual approval or dismissal of the case.

However, the bankruptcy court may enter an order of confidentiality if there is a compelling need to restrict public accessibility. Such a request for sealing is typically at the debtor's petition, who must demonstrate the need (case in point: Legal Newsline v. Garlock Sealing Technologies LLC. (2014)).

Record seekers looking for an alternative to government sources may obtain bankruptcy records from third-party websites. These non-governmental websites often come with tools that help simplify the search for single or multiple records. However, record availability on third-party sites tends to vary because they’re independent of government sources. To obtain bankruptcy case information using third-party sites, record seekers may need to provide:

  • A complete name of the debtor involved in the record
  • A bankruptcy case number

Bankruptcy in North Carolina

Bankruptcy is a legal process that allows for debtors to find some clemency and forgiveness from creditors. It also provides an opportunity for the creditors to reclaim debts via liquidation of remaining assets. Bankruptcy processes in the country are generally handled by federal courts by a bankruptcy judge.

During a bankruptcy process in North Carolina, there is no contact between the debtor and the bankruptcy judge, except objections are being made by the debtors as regards the case. Usually in the country, the administration of a debtor’s estate after a bankruptcy proceeding is handled by a trustee, who is an official appointed by the United States Trustee Program. The trustee is also responsible for overseeing the case administration and litigation process ensuring bankruptcy laws are followed in a proper manner.

In North Carolina, bankruptcy procedures can be pursued by individuals or corporate debtors, the most prominent forms of bankruptcy are:

  • Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
  • Chapter 11 Bankruptcy
  • Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Other types of bankruptcy procedures include:

  • Chapter 9 Bankruptcy
  • Chapter 12 Bankruptcy
  • Chapter 15 Bankruptcy

There were 8,909 Bankruptcy cases filed in total in the state of North Carolina for the year 2020. This represents the lowest figure in the state since 2000. The United Bankruptcy Court - Eastern District of North Carolina maintains a month-by-month record and these records are viewable by members of the public.

What Do North Carolina Bankruptcy Records Contain?

A bankruptcy record is a collection of documents that an individual filed with the court during a bankruptcy case. A typical bankruptcy record in North Carolina will contain the following information:

  • Name of the debtor
  • Filing status (individual or business)
  • Business affiliations (if the debtor filed as an individual)
  • Chapter of bankruptcy filed
  • List of creditors
  • Relevant dates (including filing date, the meeting of creditors, hearing, and discharge date)
  • Name and contact information of bankruptcy attorneys
  • Contact information of the bankruptcy administrator/trustee
  • Name of the presiding judge
  • Schedule of Assets
  • Schedule of Liabilities
  • Statement of Financial Affairs
  • Proof of claim from creditors
  • Power of attorney filing
  • Motions
  • Complaints
  • Informational briefs
  • Applications and Affidavits
  • Exhibits
  • Notices
  • Court orders
  • Case status
  • Final judgment/Case disposition
  • Transcript of proceedings
  • Sound recordings

How to Get North Carolina Bankruptcy Records

Persons interested in getting a bankruptcy record in North Carolina must follow systematic instructions peculiar to these public records. The two means of getting a bankruptcy record are viz:

  • Online requests
  • In-person and mail requests

An online search for bankruptcy records:

When court staff receive a bankruptcy filing, the standard case management procedure is to keep a physical copy of each document. Courts also upload digital scans of the documents to an electronic repository. This electronic repository is the public access to court electronic records system (PACER).

Using PACER, any interested requester with access to the internet may access bankruptcy records. An advantage of PACER over in-person requests is that the user may get public records regardless of the District in charge of the bankruptcy case. Besides, the system is available round-the-clock, and the access fee is cheaper. PACER charges $0.10 per page viewed. The user may also print the documents accessed.

However, a limitation of PACER is that sealed records are typically unavailable to public users. Furthermore, older bankruptcy records from before December 2003 are unavailable on the system. To access either, the requester must make an in-person request following the instructions in the next section.

PACER is available online via any personal computer or on the public terminals at the courthouse. To get started, interested persons must create a PACER account and provide billing information. Then, he/she may log in and search for the party's bankruptcy records using the name or case number.

In-person and mail requests:

Generally, to get a bankruptcy record in person, the intending requester must visit the clerk's office during business hours. The clerk's office is at the division overseeing bankruptcy filings from the debtor's county of residence or incorporation. At the clerk's office, submit a written request for the record or ask for the official request form.

Either way, a requester must provide administrative staff with the necessary details to retrieve the record of interest from the court archives. These include the debtor's name, date of filing, or case number. The requester may also provide the name of the representing attorney or presiding judge if known. Bear in mind that this service is billable, and the requester bears the cost of searching, reproducing, and certifying the documents sought.

Mail requests also follow a similar pattern. Instead of visiting, the requester encloses the written request for the record in a self-addressed stamped envelope. Next, he/she attaches a money order or certified check for the applicable fees and seals the envelope.

Generally, a $30.00 search fee and a $0.50 copy fee per page apply to requests. Still, it is best practice to call the court ahead to request a cost estimate. Persons who cannot afford these fees may check the official policy regarding free access and fee exemption.

Meanwhile, before mailing or proceeding to any courthouse to submit a request, bear this information in mind. First, the requester must identify the bankruptcy district court that handled the filing. There are three bankruptcy districts in North Carolina.

The organization of bankruptcy courts into federal districts serves jurisdictional and administrative purposes. To put it into perspective, the procedure and rules that apply to the Middle District do not necessarily apply to the Eastern District or the Western District. Also, each District handles bankruptcy filings from specific counties in North Carolina and nowhere else.

Furthermore, filings do not go straight to the district/headquarters. Instead, counties under a bankruptcy district are further organized into divisions, where the filings go. Thus, after identifying the District in charge of the bankruptcy case, the requester must identify the specific division where the debtor filed for bankruptcy. For example, to obtain a debtor's bankruptcy records in Forsyth county, visit the clerk's office in the Winston-Salem division.

  • U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Eastern District of North Carolina;
  • U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Middle District of North Carolina;
  • U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Western District of North Carolina;

Where to Conduct a Free Bankruptcy Case Search in North Carolina

The public terminals in the federal bankruptcy courthouses are available to anyone who wants to conduct a free bankruptcy case search in North Carolina. Although record inspections are free, individuals who require copies must pay the charge.

Alternatively, a touch-tone phone user can call the Voice Case Information System (VCIS) at (866) 222-8029 to perform a free bankruptcy case search in North Carolina. However, each caller must have a debtor's social security number/tax identification number, a debtor's name, or a case number to obtain details about the bankruptcy case.

How Do I Find Out if My Bankruptcy Case is Closed in North Carolina?

A bankruptcy case becomes closed when the presiding judge issues a final judgment. Thus, a discharge of debt does not automatically connote case closure. To know if the bankruptcy case is closed, contact the trustee assigned or visit the clerk's office. Alternatively, concerned persons may use PACER to check the current status of the bankruptcy case.

Can a Bankruptcy Be Expunged in North Carolina?

No. Bankruptcy records cannot be expunged in North Carolina. Per 11 U.S.C. § 107(a), bankruptcy records are public records. While a person may submit a motion to expunge, the court has no statutory authority to expunge the bankruptcy records (case in point: Maximus Eziudo Frederick (2016)).

Federal laws on bankruptcy only grant bankruptcy courts the authority to redact, seal, or restrict public access to documents under extenuating circumstances. Even so, such documents are still available to authorized debtors.

What is the Downside of Filing for Bankruptcy in North Carolina?

While filing for bankruptcy can give a debtor a fresh start and some relief from debtors, it is important to note that the Federal Government, the State of North Carolina, and organizations that offer credit facilities have a right and duty to protect themselves and other debtors from persons that may default on loans and debt repayment plans.

Thus, after filing and obtaining bankruptcy status in the state of North Carolina the following may be immediate consequences:

  • Loss of credit facilities: after filing for bankruptcy and concluding the proceeding, debtors that give credit and loans may choose to abstain from issuing further credit. Credit facilities offered through credit cards and other means may get withdrawn from individuals and corporate debtors that undergo bankruptcy procedures. Also, Loans and Mortgage organizations may choose to not grant debtors facilities to debtors who have undergone bankruptcy procedures.
  • The credit score of an individual or debtor is severely affected after a bankruptcy procedure. In North Carolina a chapter 7 bankruptcy is kept on a person's credit report for 10 years, a chapter 13 on the other hand must stay on credit reports for 7 years at the minimum.
  • Debtors that undergo bankruptcy procedures may lose properties and other real estate as these properties can be slated for liquidation by the courts in order to aid repayment of debt to creditors.
  • Some other financial obligations are not waived and are still very in force including - alimony, child support, student loans, criminal restitution, fines, etc.
  • Debtors that undergo bankruptcy filing are ineligible for tax refunds in the state of North Carolina.

A more intangible consequence of bankruptcy filings is the effect which the procedure may cause including mental, physical, and psychological distress.

On a brighter note, a bankruptcy filing may offer benefits including:

  • A creditor cannot institute court cases against a debtor in a bankruptcy proceeding - this means that creditors cannot issue calls and letters to debtors, home foreclosures can be halted, and property repossession can also be halted accordingly.
  • A bankruptcy proceeding can also aid debtors to cancel repayments obligations.
  • Bankruptcy proceedings can also aid debtors to hold on to properties and assets that might have been primarily lost otherwise.
  • Bankruptcy procedures can also aid debtors to gain a fresh start and get good credit scores after rebuilding on the clean slate offered after a bankruptcy procedure.

What is Chapter 11 Bankruptcy in North Carolina?

Chapter 11 is often nicknamed “reorganization” bankruptcy. The debtor is oftentimes “in possession” and has the legal authority to continue to go about business and the court may also approve new loans to aid reorganization. The reorganization allows creditors to vote on a plan with the authorization of the courts. A chapter 11 is usually targeted to corporate debtors - businesses and single-asset realty debtors (SARE), not-for-profit institutions, and persons in high-debt.

To begin a chapter 11 bankruptcy procedure a debtor must file:

  • An itinerary of assets and liabilities;
  • An inventory of current income and expenditures;
  • A list of executory contracts and unexpired leases;
  • A proper summary of financial affairs.

The benefit of this bankruptcy is that the debtor filing is given an opportunity to continue running a business. In the state of North Carolina, bankruptcy trustees are called bankruptcy administrators and serve similar functions.

A downside exists in filing for a Chapter 11 for individuals since a chapter 11 is considerably more expensive to file than a Chapter 13 for individuals and can only be recommended for individuals in levels of debts that are very high.

When corporate institutions file for chapter 11, the state grants the following to such bodies:

  • Relief from creditors
  • An opportunity to propose alternative payment and adjusted interest rates.
  • Extension of credit repayment schedule
  • At least 5 years granted for the repayment of the outstanding debts.
  • Control over the liquidation of assets owned by the business since the debtor acts as the bankruptcy administrator in deciding how these assets are liquidated.
  • An opportunity to reinvent the business and engage in more sustainable business practices.

What is Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in North Carolina?

In North Carolina, chapter 7 is filed when a person wishes to have a _clean slate_from debts and other responsibilities that came about as a result of such debt. In this bankruptcy procedure, the state appoints a bankruptcy administrator - otherwise known as a trustee. The trustee would be charged with ensuring that your assets would be liquidated to repay debts. The assets that can be sold by the bankruptcy administrator are assets that are not subject to the North Carolina Bankruptcy Exemptions. Such exemptions include:

  • Insurance policies.
  • Property resulting from a business partnership.
  • Public benefits - public benefits include aid to the blind, crime victim compensation, unemployment benefits, etc.
  • Tools of trade.
  • Wages received 60 days before filing for bankruptcy.
  • Other exemptions as stipulated in the North Carolina Bankruptcy Exemptions.

After a person has filed a chapter 7 bankruptcy, there are forms of debts that can be discharged, such debt forms include:

  • Debt from credit instruments like Credit cards.
  • Medical and health related bills.
  • Personal Loans that have not yet been secured
  • Vendor debt
  • Liability that has been created as a result of being a guarantor for another person's debt. Etc.

However, some other financial responsibilities cannot be discharged by a chapter 7 bankruptcy filing. These include student loans obtained from academic pursuits, domestic responsibilities, some tax responsibilities, restitution for crimes, debt that has accrued through fraud, debts that have been accrued due to malicious injuries or bad behavior.

In the state of North Carolina, the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), stipulates that Chapter 7 bankruptcy filings must remain on a person's credit report for up to 10 years starting from the filing date.

What is Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in North Carolina?

In the state of North Carolina and across the country a chapter 13 is often used to stall a home foreclosure. The result of a chapter 13 bankruptcy filing is that a debtor is allowed to propose a 3-5 year repayment plan to pay back the debts using future income. A chapter 13 is also useful in making up for defaults in car payments, paying back taxes in the state, and preventing interest from accruing on a tax debt. A merit of chapter 13 bankruptcy is that it allows for a debtor to keep assets that would have otherwise been put up for liquidation, the chapter 13 bankruptcy filing allows for debtors to retain ownership of properties that are not listed on the North Carolina Bankruptcy Exemptions list. To be eligible for the chapter 13 bankruptcy filing procedure, the individual must have a regular source of income and means to pay back from disposable income. In the state of North Carolina, the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), legally requires that a statement of Chapter 13 bankruptcy filings must be included in a person's credit report for a maximum of 7 years starting from the date of the filing.

What is the Difference Between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in North Carolina?

In North Carolina, and in the country generally, the difference between filing a chapter 7 and a chapter 13 is the outcome of the entire procedure. In the case of chapter 13, the intended outcome is for the debtor to retain the rights and ownership of a property, or asset. Assets that are not exempt under the North Carolina Bankruptcy Exemptions can also be protected during a chapter 13 filing. In the case of chapter 13 - the debtor pays the debts from future expected income. Meanwhile, chapter 7 is a liquidation bankruptcy procedure akin to ripping off a band-aid. In the chapter 7 proceeding assets that are not covered by the North Carolina Bankruptcy Exemptions are liquidated and used to pay the creditors, thereby giving the debtor a clean slate.

What is Bankruptcy Protection in North Carolina?

Bankruptcy protection is privilege granted to debtors under North Carolina state laws and federal laws that allow a debtor to seek partial or full relief from debts owed to creditors. In the state of North Carolina, these rights are granted to a debtor after filing a bankruptcy proceeding with the state courts and such a person has been declared insolvent. In the country officials called trustees or bankruptcy administrators as they are known in North Carolina are responsible for overseeing the bankruptcy procedure and judgements are granted by a bankruptcy judge.

What are North Carolina Bankruptcy Exemptions?

The North Carolina Bankruptcy Exemptions detail a list of properties and assets that are outside the reach and grasp of creditors as they pursue payment of a debt. In the state of North Carolina, married couples are allowed to file jointly to claim bankruptcy exemptions. The state of North Carolina also allows debtors to include properties that are exempted by federal laws for exemption protection. Some exemptions according to North Carolina law include:

  • Homestead that is held as tenancy by the entirety is exempt against debts owed by only one of the spouses.
  • Life policy insurance and other insurance benefits are exempt.
  • Properties from a business partnership.
  • Pension of retired persons - including rescue workers, police offices and other law enforcement agents, legislators, teachers, state employees, etc.
  • Personal properties including burial plots, health aids, personal injury recoveries, wrongful death recoveries, etc
  • Public benefits including aid to blind persons, unemployment benefits, special person assistance, worker compensations. Etc.

What are the Other Types of Bankruptcy in North Carolina?

Chapter 7, 11 and 13 bankruptcy filings are the most prominent bankruptcy procedures in the state of North Carolina. Outside the provisions of these proceedings, persons who wish to pursue debt settlements can make use of refinancing options to pay off debts. Outside of this the best means may be to embrace a leaner budget and keep off debt while paying existing creditors.

Persons interested in making further inquiries can contact any of the bankruptcy courts located in the state at:

Western District of North Carolina - Bankruptcy Court
U.S. Bankruptcy Court
Western District of North Carolina
401 West Trade Street, Room 111
Charlotte, NC 28202
Phone: (704) 350-7500

U.S. Bankruptcy Court
Western District of North Carolina
100 Otis Street, Room 112
Asheville, NC 28801-2611
Phone: (828) 771-7300

U.S. Courthouse
200 West Broad Street
Room 301
Statesville, NC 28677
Phone: (704) 871-4280

Cleveland County Courthouse
100 Justice Place
Shelby, NC 28150

Middle District of North Carolina - Bankruptcy Court
U.S. Bankruptcy Court
Middle District of North Carolina
101 S. Edgeworth St.
Greensboro, NC 27401

U.S. Bankruptcy Court
Middle District of North Carolina
601 W. 4th St.
Winston-Salem, NC 27101

U.S. Bankruptcy Court
Middle District of North Carolina
Venable Center, Dibrell Building - Suite 280
302 East Pettigrew Street
Durham, NC 27701

Eastern District of North Carolina - Bankruptcy Court
Raleigh Division
U.S. Bankruptcy Court
Century Station Federal Building
300 Fayetteville St.,
4th Floor
Raleigh, NC 27601-1799

Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 791
Raleigh, NC 27602

U.S. Bankruptcy Court
Randy D. Doub Courthouse
150 Reade Circle
Greenville, NC 27858

Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 791
Raleigh, NC 27602
Phone: (919) 856-4752

How Much Does It Cost to File Bankruptcy in North Carolina?

Each petitioner who wants to file for bankruptcy in North Carolina must pay a filing fee. This fee is determined by the chapter of bankruptcy filed. For instance, a Chapter 7 bankruptcy has a $335 filing fee, whereas a Chapter 13 bankruptcy has a $310 filing fee.

Other than the court fees, a petitioner who hires a bankruptcy attorney must also account for the associated legal costs, which vary by the lawyer's experience and case intricacy.