How do I Find Court Records for Bankruptcy in Florida?

By David Sarokin - Updated April 06, 2017
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Bankruptcy court records are public records everyone has the right to see. Bankruptcy courts in Florida make their court cases available electronically for online review and download. To view them online you have to use the Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER), which isn't user-friendly for the general public. Paying to get the records in hard copy may be worth it.

PACER Registration

Bankruptcy courts in Florida and elsewhere use PACER to post their case files online. You have to register to use PACER. Registration involves submitting basic name and address information, and there's no charge. You pay the service quarterly.

Going Online

You can access PACER through the website of the Southern, Middle or Northern Florida Bankruptcy Courts. Log in to PACER with the user name and password you received with your registration package. Search for the bankruptcy case you want. You can search by case number, the name of the individual or business filing bankruptcy, Social Security number or tax identification number.

Pacer Prices

At time of writing PACER charges you a dime for every page of bankruptcy documents it produces. A 10-page legal document costs you a dollar. If you search for a name in PACER and get two pages of matches, that's 20 cents. If a document runs more than 30 pages, you won't be charged more than $3. This may not sound like much, but bankruptcy filings involve hundreds of pages of documentation and files. Costs can add up.

The Hard Copy Option

If you don't want to deal with PACER, contact the bankruptcy court for your district. Bankruptcies are public records, so ask about viewing them on site, or having the Clerk of Court make copies to take with you. You will be charged for the copies — 50 cents a page at time of writing. Transcripts of closed cases may be available from the court reporter.

Many old cases are archived at the Federal Records Center in Georgia rather than with the court. You can pay the Clerk to order the documents you need, or contact the center directly. At time of writing the fee is $64 for the first box of FRC records, $39 for each additional box.

About the Author

David Sarokin is a well-known specialist on Internet research. He has been profiled in the "New York Times," the "Washington Post" and in numerous online publications. Based in Washington D.C., he splits his time between several research services, writing content and his work as an environmental specialist with the federal government. David is the author of Missed Information (MIT Press, 2016), a book exploring how better information can lead to a more sustainable future.

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