Montana Court Records
What are Montana Bankruptcy Records?
Montana bankruptcy records are generated from the documents, cover sheets, and other relevant information regarding bankruptcy cases in the state. These records are the official documentation of proceedings in bankruptcy cases. Typically, these cases occur when a debtor, unable to repay creditors, seeks a way to discharge debts through the provisions of the federal bankruptcy law.
The United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Montana manages bankruptcy records. The bankruptcy court clerk is the custodian of Montana bankruptcy records, and the clerk's office maintains any information gathered during case proceedings. Part of the custodian's duties is disseminating electronic or physical copies of non-confidential bankruptcy information to querying individuals. However, persons seeking to find Montana court records pertaining to bankruptcy proceedings will have to provide information with which to facilitate the record search.
Also, government-owned sites maintain bankruptcy information on their databases and provide them to the general public. However, the provision of bankruptcy records is not restricted to government-owned platforms alone, as third-party websites, including MontanaCourtRecords.us, also manage and disseminate such records.
What do Montana Bankruptcy Records Contain?
The information provided in a Montana bankruptcy record includes filings, court proceedings, court orders, and other bankruptcy-specific or non-specific information. These records are generally maintained by the court and have the following information:
- Bankruptcy case cover sheet
- Case docket
- Claims register
- The involved attorney and trustee's addresses and contact information
- A list of creditors
- Credit report
- A list of the assets owned by debtors
- Financial and income statement of the debtor
- The filing date of the case
Are Bankruptcy Records Public Information?
Yes, bankruptcy records are public information as stated in the Freedom of Information Act. The FOIA classifies bankruptcy records as public records and guarantees their availability to the general public. The Act also mandates custodians of bankruptcy information to provide them to interested parties for copying or inspection, whether in paper or electronic format.
A clause in the FOIA restricts custodians from making confidential bankruptcy records available to the public. Typically, the court may redact some bankruptcy information, automatically making it unavailable to the general public. Only by court authorization can the redacted information be made available.
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 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 Montana Bankruptcy Records?
Obtaining physical copies of Montana bankruptcy records is possible at any of the bankruptcy court's locations. Generally, the court clerk serves as the custodian of bankruptcy records, and interested individuals can request records that they wish to obtain. The clerk's office attends to such requests at the courthouses and also accepts written requests via U.S. mail. The clerk performs record searches at a fee of $32 per search and record reproductions at $0.50 per page.
Alternatively, there are public computers located in each courthouse. These computers provide querying parties with paper copies of bankruptcy records. Requesters may search the court's database via public computers and print out any desired Montana bankruptcy information. A fee of $0.10 per copy printed applies.
To use the public computers or request for records in-person, interested individuals can visit any of the following courthouses during business hours: 8:00 am through 4:00 pm:
Mike Mansfield Federal Courthouse, 2nd Floor
400 North Main Street
Butte, MT 59701
Phone: (406) 497-1240 (Clerk's Office)
James F. Battin Federal Courthouse
2601 2nd Avenue North
Billings, MT 59101
Phone: (406) 247-7000 (Clerk's Office)
Fax: (406) 247-7008 (Clerk's Office)
Missouri River Federal Courthouse
125 Central Avenue West
Great Falls, MT 59404
Phone: (406) 727-1922 (Clerk's Office)
Fax: (406) 727-7648 (Clerk's Office)
Russell Smith Federal Courthouse
201 East Broadway
Missoula, MT 59802
Phone:(406) 542-7260 (Clerk's Office)
Fax: (406) 542-7272 (Clerk's Office)
Querying parties should note that the courthouses do not permit electronic devices, and they conduct security checks in which all visitors must provide government-issued photo IDs.
To obtain Montana bankruptcy records in an electronic format, the Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) service is available to the public. The PACER database holds federal court records, including bankruptcy records, and individuals who register on the platform can obtain them. PACER is available twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, to users with an account and an internet connection. Inquiries or concerns about not finding a particular piece of bankruptcy information can be communicated to the service center at (800) 676-6856 or email@example.com.
The Montana bankruptcy court also provides records via the Voice Case Information System. Individuals can use the service at no charge and in their preferred languages by calling (866) 222-8029 and following the automated voice instructions to listen to the information they want.
How do I Find Out if My Bankruptcy Case is Closed in Montana?
Interested individuals can know if a bankruptcy case is closed in Montana by checking the case status on platforms that provide basic bankruptcy information. For instance, the Voice Case Information System, accessible by calling (866) 222-8029), offers basic Montana bankruptcy information, such as if the court has closed a bankruptcy case.
The status of a bankruptcy case is also available to users of the PACER system. Likewise, it is available on public computers at the bankruptcy courthouses.
Can a Bankruptcy be Expunged in Montana
Since Montana bankruptcies are largely non-confidential information and available to the general public, there are no official provisions to expunge a record. However, persons can still file a motion to seal or redact bankruptcy information based on privacy or other reasons. The presiding judge will review the motion and has the authority to grant or deny it. If the judge grants the motion, such information will become inaccessible to the public.