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Kentucky Bankruptcy Records

What are Kentucky Bankruptcy Records?

Bankruptcy records in Kentucky State are generated from court proceedings on bankruptcy matters within the state. These records include documents and other information relevant to a case. Bankruptcy information generated at the court is typically maintained by the court clerk. Interested parties may be able to view copies of a record by visiting a bankruptcy court or submitting a request. Members of the public can also access bankruptcy records via electronic platforms operated by federal agencies.

What Do Kentucky Bankruptcy Records Contain?

Information contained in Kentucky bankruptcy records includes the financial information of the debtors, details concerning the parties involved in the case, and other information or documents generated during the court proceedings such as:

  • The debtor's name
  • Case number
  • The filing date of the case
  • Type of bankruptcy case
  • Income and financial reports
  • Debtor's attorney name and contact details
  • The discharge and closing date of the case
  • A list of the debtor's assets
  • Information concerning creditors involved in the case

What is Bankruptcy in Kentucky?

Bankruptcy describes a legal process used by Kentucky debtors to obtain some relief from incurred debts. The process is open to individuals and businesses with debts that are too large or uncomfortable to handle. Debtors in Kentucky may file for one of three types of bankruptcy, depending on the eligibility requirements for each one. Sometimes, bankruptcy requires debtors to liquidate all assets and properties and use the proceeds to repay creditors. In other instances, satisfying debts involves creating a repayment plan agreeable to creditors. The repayment plan may last up to five years in some cases.

The state of Kentucky has no authority to hear bankruptcy cases. Every bankruptcy filing is handled by one of two federal bankruptcy courts with exclusive jurisdiction over related matters. Kentucky bankruptcy courts include:

The location to file for bankruptcy depends on each court’s county of jurisdiction. The Kentucky Eastern Bankruptcy Court covers counties such as Kenton, Boone, Owsley, and Lincoln. However, debtors in Warren, Hickman, Jefferson, and Livingston counties must submit filings to the Kentucky Western Bankruptcy Court. Kentucky bankruptcy courts are located at the following addresses:

United States Bankruptcy Court, Eastern District of Kentucky
Ashland Court
US Bankruptcy Court
Carl Perkins Federal Building
US District Courtroom
1405 Greenup Avenue
Suite 204
Ashland, KY 411O1
Phone: (859) 233-2608

Covington Court
US Bankruptcy Court
United States Courthouse
35 West 5th Street
Suite 306
Covington, KY 41011
Phone: (859) 233-2608

Lexington Court
US Bankruptcy Court
Community Trust Building
100 East Vine Street
Suite 200
Lexington, KY 40507
Phone: (859) 233-2608

London Court
US Bankruptcy Court
United States Courthouse Annex
US District Courtroom C
3rd Floor
310 South Main Street
London, KY 40741
Phone: (859) 233-2608

Pikeville Court
US Bankruptcy Court/ US Post Office and Courthouse
US District Courtroom
110 Main Street
Suite 201
Pikeville, KY 41501
Phone: (859) 233-2608

Frankfort court cases are heard in the Lexington Court
United States Bankruptcy Court, Western District of Kentucky
Louisville Court
Gene Snyder Federal Courthouse
601 West Broadway
Louisville, KY 40202
Phone: (502) 627-5700
Hours: 8:30 am - 4:30 pm

Bowling Green Court
Federal Courthouse
241 East Main Street
Bowling Green, KY 42101
Phone: (502) 627-5700
Hours: 8:30 am - 4:30 pm

Owensboro Court
US Courthouse
423 Frederica Street
Owensboro, KY 42301
Phone: (502) 627-5700
Hours: 8:30 am - 4:30 pm

Paducah Court
United States Courthouse
501 Broadway
Paducah, KY 42001
Phone: (502) 627-5700
Hours: 8:30 am - 4:30 pm

Persons or businesses filing for bankruptcy must submit several documents containing personal and financial details. Required information may include the following:

  • Government-issued ID, including driver’s licenses and passports. The name on the ID should match the name on the application
  • Recent bank account statements
  • Credit report
  • List of all creditors
  • Two-year federal income tax returns for Chapter 7 and four years for Chapter 13
  • Information on the debtor’s expenses
  • Paycheck stubs for the last six months
  • Debt value and type
  • Details of exempt property
  • Mortgage papers where necessary
  • Vehicle particulars, including registration documents, evidence of insurance, car loan papers, and proof of value

Kentucky courts sometimes dismiss bankruptcy cases if the application is incomplete or fails to meet certain requirements. Persons filing for bankruptcy are advised to file with an attorney to reduce the chance of a dismissal. The following are some reasons courts may strike out bankruptcy applications:

  • Absence at Meeting of Creditors
  • Submitting an incomplete list of creditors
  • Skipping filing fees
  • Failure to submit all necessary documents
  • Misrepresenting all or parts of the case to the trustee or the court

The court may also disallow an application if the applicant did not receive credit counseling within 180 days before filing the bankruptcy application. Depending on case specifics, the court can deny the discharge of one or more debts, but not the whole case.

Interested members of the public can request Kentucky bankruptcy records by sending applications to the court that heard each case or visiting the court in person. Requestors may also obtain records by phone through the Multi-Court Voice Case Information System (McVIS). Furthermore, records are available via the federal judiciary’s PACER platform for a fee. Old or closed records that are unavailable using any of the above methods may be requested from the National Archive and Records Administration (NARA).

Are Bankruptcy Records Public Information?

Yes, bankruptcy records are considered public information. Following the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), the bankruptcy courts and other agencies managing bankruptcy information make these records open for public inspection and duplication. The custodians (clerks of court) of bankruptcy records disseminate such records to the general public in different ways. However, the custodians can charge record requesters for searching or obtaining copies of records. Although bankruptcy records fall under the umbrella of public information, individuals cannot obtain any record or information that the court seals or redacts. Such information is confidential and only available to authorized individuals and agencies.

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

How to Get Kentucky Bankruptcy Records?

To obtain paper copies of Kentucky bankruptcy records, querying parties can visit the court during regular working hours, 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Non-confidential documents and bankruptcy information are available for inspection or duplication at the clerk's offices or by using the public access terminals at the bankruptcy court locations.

Interested persons can get uncertified paper copies from the clerk's office at a fee of $0.50 per page either in-person or through the mail. Requests via mail should be done in writing and specify the records wanted. Inquirers can direct any question or concern to the court at (859) 233-2608 The public access computers also provide copies of records that users can print for $.10 per page. A records search fee of $32 applies for records that are not considered basic case information.

To obtain paper or certified copies in-person or via mail from the clerk of court or to use the public access terminals, requesters can visit the bankruptcy court locations or send their written requests to the following addresses:

Kentucky Eastern Bankruptcy Court:
Carl Perkins Federal Building United States District Courtroom
1405 Greenup Avenue, Suite 204
Ashland, KY 41101

United States Courthouse
35 West 5th Street. Suite 306
Covington, KY 41011

Community Trust Building
100 East Vine Street, Suite 200
Lexington, KY 40507

United States Courthouse Annex
U.S. District Courtroom C
310, South Main Street
London, KY 40741

U.S. District Courtroom
110 Main Street, Suite 201
Pikeville, KY 41501

Kentucky Western Bankruptcy Court:

(Only the Louisville office is staffed with clerk office personnel and receives written requests via mail):

United States Bankruptcy Court
601 West Broadway, Suite 450
Louisville, KY 40202
Phone: (502) 627-5700

United States Courthouse
501 Broadway
Paducah, KY 42001

Federal Courthouse
241 East Main Street
Bowling Green, KY 42101

United States Courthouse
423 Frederica Street
Owensboro, KY 42301

Individuals who want Kentucky electronic bankruptcy records can register on the Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) service to search for desired records and obtain them at a fee. The PACER service allows electronic access to bankruptcy cases and docket information. As stated in the Public Access Fee Schedule, a $0.10 fee applies per page for any case document, transcript, docket report, and other case-related reports. For inquiries, the PACER Service Center can be contacted via a phone call at (800) 676-6856 or pacer@psc.uscourts.gov.

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

Generally, parties involved in a Kentucky bankruptcy case can check if the bankruptcy case is closed by searching its status on any platform that provides access to bankruptcy case information. For instance, the PACER service allows individuals to access basic case information and check if the bankruptcy case is closed or ongoing. The bankruptcy courts' public access terminals also provide access to bankruptcy case status. Likewise, individuals can request such information at the clerk's office.

Another common means of knowing the status of a bankruptcy case is the Multiple Court Voice Case Information System (McVCIS). The McVCIS is an automated voice response system that inquirers can use to obtain basic information concerning a bankruptcy case. Requesters can call the system at (866) 222-8029 and follow the automated instructions to check if a bankruptcy case is closed.

Can a Bankruptcy Be Expunged in Kentucky?

Individuals can file a motion to expunge or seal a bankruptcy record in Kentucky. The judge handling the case reviews the request and grants it as is fit. Expunging or sealing a bankruptcy record makes it confidential information that is removed from platforms that provide the public with access to bankruptcy records.

What is the Downside of Filing for Bankruptcy in Kentucky?

Although the bankruptcy process offers relief to Kentucky debtors, there are several downsides to applying. Some of them include the following:

  • Poor credit score - Filing for bankruptcy significantly reduces the applicant’s credit score. In Kentucky, the filing may remain on the debtor’s credit report for up to 10 years.
  • Loss of property - Applicants may lose most or all non-exempt property to repayment efforts.
  • Reduced access to loan services - A bankruptcy filing can affect the debtor’s chance of obtaining a mortgage or loan for many years.
  • Canceled credit cards - In some cases, credit card companies may cancel active cards issued to the debtors who have filed for bankruptcy.

Filing for bankruptcy also has advantages. Debtors should note that access to these benefits may depend on each applicant’s case. Persons filing for bankruptcy may consider the following upsides:

  • With Chapter 11 bankruptcy, for instance, the process may force creditors to allow debtors to spread debt repayment for up to 5 years. This lets applicants clear debts comfortably
  • Some bankruptcy cases may be resolved in a few months, allowing the debtor to start repairing their credit score
  • In some instances, debtors may discharge medical debts, personal loans, or credit card debts

What is Chapter 11 Bankruptcy in Kentucky?

Chapter 11 bankruptcy allows Kentucky businesses to pay their debts without shutting down operations, by creating a payment plan subject to the creditor’s approval. The plan submitted to the court for approval may involve reducing expenditure or considering other sources of revenue for the business. Chapter 11 bankruptcy is also called restructuring or reorganization bankruptcy and is usually the most complex and expensive.

The timeframe required to satisfy all debts depends on the amount and nature of the applicable debts. Chapter 11 bankruptcy repayment plans may last only a few months or multiple years until the debtor satisfies all parts of the agreement signed with the creditors. The Chapter 11 process also lets creditors create or amend repayment plans in some cases.

What is Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Kentucky?

Chapter 7 bankruptcy is also called straight or liquidation bankruptcy because the court liquidates all the debtor’s non-exempt assets and property. Under Chapter 7, the debtor must turn over all assets to the trustee, who then sells the assets and pays creditors. The trustee also pays the debtor any exempted amount and collects a commission for their role in the process. A Kentucky Chapter 7 discharge is unobtainable if the applicant received a previous Chapter 7 discharge within the last 8 years.

Several non-dischargeable debts cannot be dismissed by filing for bankruptcy. According to 11 U.S. Code § 523(a), debtors must still satisfy all payments for the following debts:

  • Student loans, if the debtor cannot prove undue hardship
  • All penalties or fines for violations of the law. Examples include criminal restitution and traffic tickets
  • Personal injury debts
  • Tax debts
  • Child or family support payments
  • Alimony

Persons who file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy must take a means test to determine their eligibility. The means test assesses the applicant’s financials - such as secured debt, income, unsecured debt, and expenses - and compares disposable income with Kentucky’s median income. In 2019, Kentucky’s median household income was $52,295, with 48% of the state’s residents earning under $50,000 in the same year. Debtors with high disposable income may not qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

What is Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Kentucky?

Chapter 13 bankruptcy is similar to Chapter 11 bankruptcy because it lets debtors create repayment plans to satisfy debts. However, Chapter 13 is sometimes called the wage earner’s plan because it is restricted to workers with regular income.

Federal law restricts the repayment period under this type of bankruptcy. According to 11 U.S.C. § 1322(d), courts may not allow repayment periods of more than three years unless there is good cause for an extension. However, no court may approve repayment that lasts longer than five years.

To qualify for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the applicant’s debt should be under the specified debt limit. As of 2021, the Bankruptcy Code set the unsecured debt limit at $419,275 and $1,257,850 for secured debt. Kentucky debtors with higher debt must consider bankruptcy under Chapters 7, 11, or 12.

In Kentucky, a Chapter 13 discharge is unavailable to any petitioner who received a previous Chapter 7 discharge within the last 6 years. In addition, access to Chapter 13 is denied to petitioners who filed for Chapter 7 in the last 4 years or Chapter 13 in the last 2 years.

What is the Difference Between a Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Kentucky?

The main difference between Chapter 13 bankruptcy and Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the method of discharging debts. Under Chapter 7, petitioners repay their debts by liquidating assets and paying off creditors. This process may be resolved in a few months, depending on the number of creditors, as well as the type and value of debts. Under Chapter 13, the debtor must create a repayment plan that supports periodic payments to creditors. Bankruptcy resolution under Chapter 13 is usually not quickly resolved and may last a few years.

Another difference between both types is eligibility. Persons interested in Chapter 7 bankruptcy must take a means test to measure the applicant’s disposable income. However, all petitioners may file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy if their secured and unsecured debts are under the official limit.

What is Bankruptcy Protection in Kentucky?

The ‘bankruptcy protection’ term refers to the automatic stay that is activated upon filing for bankruptcy. The automatic stay immediately suspends all actions, court judgments, contracts, or other methods creditors may employ to retrieve their debts. The protection means that the debtor’s properties are covered until the court approves a liquidation or reorganization.

The automatic stay suspends all wage garnishments, public benefits overpayment collections, foreclosures, and disconnection of utilities. However, bankruptcy protection does not suspend payments such as alimony, pension loan repayments, child support, and some tax payments. Furthermore, the automatic stay will expire after 30 days if the applicant made an earlier bankruptcy filing within one year.

What are Kentucky Bankruptcy Exemptions?

Bankruptcy exemptions allow debtors to keep ownership of select property up to a specified amount. Enforcing bankruptcy exemptions prevents bankruptcy applicants from losing all their assets and properties to reorganization or liquidation.

Kentucky allows applicants to use federal or state exemptions but does not allow mixing both. Below are bankruptcy exemptions allowed in Kentucky:

This exemption allows individual debtors to maintain equity in a home or burial plot to an aggregated maximum of $5,000

Debtors may maintain certain instruments, furnishings, and library or office equipment of a physician, minister, surgeon, attorney, veterinarian, dentist, or pastor. This exemption allows a maximum of $1,000. The Tools of Trade Exemption extends to one motor vehicle up to $2,500, a farmer’s tools and livestock up to $3,000, and non-farmers tools up to $300.

Debtors may keep 25% of their weekly disposable earnings, or the extra earnings in a week, after deducting the value of 30 times the federal minimum hourly wage

This covers health aids, medical expenses, and personal injury recoveries to a $7,500 maximum. Jewelry, furnishings, clothing, and other adornments are also exempt up to a total of $3,000.

Under this exemption, debtors can protect up to $1,000 worth of any property, including tangible, intangible, real, or personal properties.

This includes workers’ compensation, crime victims’ compensation, unemployment compensation, and aid to the disabled, aged, or blind. All public assistance grants are also exempt.

  • Pension Exemption

Kentucky also allows pension exemptions for state employees, teachers, urban county government employees, police officers, firefighters, IRA accounts, and other pensions.

What are the Other Types of Bankruptcy in Kentucky?

Kentucky offers Chapter 12 bankruptcy to fishers and farmers who earn regular income from fishing and farming. Chapter 12 bankruptcy provides these persons with economic relief to properly restructure or reorganize their debts without suspending operations.

Eligibility for Chapter 12 bankruptcy is similar to Chapter 13, but with a higher debt ceiling. The total outstanding debt to confirm eligibility is $1,924,550 for a fishing operation and $4,153,150 for a farming business. In addition, business-related debt should be at least 50% for farmers and at least 80% for fishers.