If you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Connecticut, you can protect some or all of your property with Connecticut’s bankruptcy exemptions. The bankruptcy exemptions in Connecticut also play a role in Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Read on to learn about the property you can protect with Connecticut’s bankruptcy exemptions.
For a general overview of bankruptcy exemptions, visit the Bankruptcy Exemption topic page.
Connecticut Allows Debtors to Choose Between State and Federal Exemptions
Connecticut is one of the states that allow debtors to choose between the Connecticut exemptions and the federal bankruptcy exemptions. This means that you may examine both sets of exemptions and pick the exemptions that better protect your assets.
You must select either the Connecticut exemptions or the federal exemptions -- you may not use pick and choose from both. If you choose to use the Connecticut bankruptcy exemptions, you may also use any of the applicable federal non-bankruptcy exemptions. The federal non-bankruptcy exemptions protect items such as federal retirement accounts and military and veterans’ benefits.
Married Couples May Double Connecticut Exemptions
Married couples filing a joint bankruptcy in Connecticut may double the exemption amounts (except for the homestead exemption). This means that each spouse may claim the full exemption amount for any property in which the spouse has ownership interest. For example, if both spouses own a car and they file jointly, they can double the amount of the applicable exemption to protect that car’s value.
Common Connecticut Exemptions
Here are some of the most common exemptions available under Connecticut law. Unless otherwise indicated, all references are to the Connecticut General Statutes Annotated.
Homestead or Residential Property
The homestead exemption protects equity in property that you use as your residence. In Connecticut, you can protect up to $75,000 of equity in real property, a co-op, or a manufactured home that you occupy at the time you file a bankruptcy. Spouses may double the homestead exemption. You can protect up to $125,000 of equity in your home from a creditor who holds a judgment against you for services provided by a hospital (if that claim arose after 1993). Conn. Gen Stat. Ann. §52-352a(e), §52-352b(t)
For more details about how the homestead exemption works in Connecticut, see The Connecticut Homestead Exemption.
You may exempt the following personal property:
Appliances, clothing, food, furniture, and bedding. Conn. Gen Stat. Ann. §52-352b(a)
Necessary health aids. Conn. Gen Stat. Ann. §52-352b(f)
Burial plot. Conn. Gen Stat. Ann. §52-352b(c)
Insurance proceeds for damaged exempt property. Conn. Gen Stat. Ann. §52-352b(q)
Residential and utility security deposits for one residence. Conn. Gen Stat. Ann. §52-352b(l)
Spendthrift trust funds necessary for you and your family’s support. Conn. Gen Stat. Ann. §52-321(d)
Transfers to a licensed debt adjuster. Conn. Gen Stat. Ann. §52-352b(u)
Wedding and engagement rings. Conn. Gen Stat. Ann. §52-352b(k)
In Connecticut, you can exempt up to $13,500 in equity in your motor vehicle. Conn. Gen Stat. Ann. §52-352b(j)
Example. Joe owns a 2009 Honda Accord. His car is worth $13,000 and he owes the dealership $11,000, so he has $2,000 of equity in the car. If Joe files Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Connecticut, he can protect all of the equity in his car using the motor vehicle exemption.
To learn more about the Connecticut Motor Vehicle exemption, read The Connecticut Motor Vehicle Exemption in Bankruptcy.
Public assistance. Conn. Gen Stat. Ann. §52-352b(d)
Crime victims’ compensation. Conn. Gen Stat. Ann. §52-352b(o), §54-213
Military personnel arms, equipment, uniforms, and instruments. Conn. Gen Stat. Ann. §52-352b(i)
Social Security. Conn. Gen Stat. Ann. §52-352b(g)
Veterans’ benefits. Conn. Gen Stat. Ann. §52-352b(g)
Workers’ compensation. Conn. Gen Stat. Ann. §52-352b(g)
Tools of the Trade
Necessary tools, books, and farm animals. Conn. Gen Stat. Ann. §52-352b(b)
Farm partnership animals and livestock reasonably required to operate farm at which 50% or more of the partners are members of the same family. Conn. Gen Stat. Ann. §52-352d
$1,000 of any property. Conn. Gen Stat. Ann. §52-352b(r). (To learn more, see The Connecticut Wildcard Exemption.)
Alimony, to the extent that wages are exempt. Conn. Gen Stat. Ann. §52-352b(n)
Child support. Conn. Gen Stat. Ann. §52-352b(h)
75% of earned wages or 40 times the state or federal minimum wages, whichever is higher. Conn. Gen Stat. Ann. §52-352a(f)
Confirming the Connecticut Bankruptcy Exemptions
This list includes some of the more commonly used Connecticut bankruptcy exemptions, but there are numerous other exemptions available to protect specific property. Additionally, Connecticut updates its exemptions periodically. You can verify the current exemption amounts at the website of the Connecticut General Assembly. To learn how to do this, see Nolo’s Legal Research Center.