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What are New Jersey Bankruptcy Records?

In New Jersey, individual entities, businesses, and corporate agencies can file for debt relief with designated courts. Upon filing, the court initiates a legal proceeding of activities to resolve the suit. A log of the activities involved come together to form a bankruptcy record. Title 11 of the United States Code provides legal interpretations for bankruptcy matters across the federation states. Federal Bankruptcy Courts have the exclusive legal authority to handle the cases.

The United States Bankruptcy Court District of New Jersey serves all counties in Newark, Trenton, and Camden. The different Chapter Categories in the US Bankruptcy Code get resolved in these courts. When a court receives a notice to file, the court clerk opens a record and updates it as the case progresses. The clerk maintains these primary copies at the courthouse office. The federal repository receives regular updates electronically, and the updates become available to anyone wishing to access the information remotely.

What do New Jersey Bankruptcy Records Contain?

The contents of a regular bankruptcy record in New Jersey provide general information about a bankruptcy case. Some of them are:

  • Assigned lawsuit file number
  • Debtor names and that of principal parties
  • Date of the notice of filing
  • Category of the petition as voluntary or involuntary
  • Chapter Code to the petition
  • Contact information of representing attorney
  • Full names of Trustee
  • Name of the presiding judge on the case
  • Date of closure of the case
  • A draft of capital assets where applicable
  • Current court disposition on the case
  • Case docket number
  • Any other documentation arising from adjoining issues

Are Bankruptcy Records Public Information?

According to the interpretations of the Open Public Records Act, bankruptcy records are freely accessible by New Jersey residents. Exceptions to the rule are details interpreted by law to be confidential. Examples are private trade information such as production formula, lock combinations, etc. Some financial information may also be closed to public access.

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 New Jersey Bankruptcy Records

The primary record custodian of a bankruptcy record is the courthouse that handled the case. Requesters can begin by using the public access terminals within the court premises. They are user-friendly and return an electronic copy of the records. If desired, users can request to have them printed out. Printing the records would, however, attract printing costs, unless the pages are few. Alternatively, go to the courthouse office to make a request. Be sure to provide the relevant bankruptcy case number. To get one, use the Court Automated Voice Information System to retrieve the number. Search and copy fees may apply. Certified copies require the requester to provide a docket number as well. The Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) provides this information. To access it, open a user account and follow the prompts.

Another way to get records is to call or mail a request to the custodian courthouse. Provide the following information:

  • Number ID of the case file
  • Docket ID (it is compulsory for certified copy requests)
  • Name of party filing bankruptcy
  • Phone number (ensure that it accessible during the day)
  • A return envelope, self-addressed and stamped

There is a fee schedule on the District Court page. Use it to get a rough estimate of applicable fees. Like most other District Courts in other states, the New Jersey Bankruptcy payments must be in bank certified checks or the standard US postage mail. The Court archives older records with the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). To get a record from the agency, route the request through the relevant courthouse office. Otherwise, be sure to get the reference numbers of the record from the court clerk before placing a request to NARA.

How do I Find Out if My Bankruptcy Case is Closed in New Jersey?

Unless there are complicating adjacent issues, bankruptcy cases in New Jersey get resolved relatively quickly. When court processes on the case come to an end, the case gets a closure. Necessary steps include the completion of all rulings. Suppose the suit involves a trustee. They must file a statement of completion regarding all requirements. After closure, the courts notify the indebted party or the representing attorney.

Can a Bankruptcy be Expunged in New Jersey?

Expunction refers to a deletion of a bankruptcy record from the federal legal system. Although it is possible, the federal identity of the record may mean some administrative delay. Since the state and federation laws provide for the rights to privacy of certain information, involved parties can petition the court to redact the sensitive information or place the entire record under seal. Common reasons for such requests are:

  • The presence of business or trade secrets;
  • If the indebted party did not give consent to the filing of the lawsuit;
  • The record contains information that can be used for litigation in the future;
  • If it was a case of identity theft.

Go to the relevant courthouse and get more information about the expunction process of records. Note that although the authorities may grant a request to expunge, a confidential copy remains with the agency for record purposes.

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