August 1, 2017
If you plan on filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Connecticut, you'll have to start by getting credit counseling, filling out the bankruptcy forms, and filing them in the correct Connecticut bankruptcy court.
Because bankruptcy is mostly governed by federal bankruptcy laws, the general bankruptcy filing process in Connecticut is similar to other states. However, you'll need to include some Connecticut-specific information on your bankruptcy forms. For instance, you'll use Connecticut bankruptcy exemptions and must find a credit and debt counselor approved in Connecticut. (For more articles on the filing process, see Filing for Bankruptcy.)
Here’s what you need to know to get started.
In order to qualify for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you must show that you received credit counseling from an agency approved by the U.S. Trustee in Connecticut not more than six months before filing for bankruptcy. You’ll also have to take a debtor education course after you file your case before you'll get a bankruptcy discharge. (To learn more, see What Is Credit and Debt Counseling in Bankruptcy?)
You can find the list of approved Connecticut credit counseling agencies here.
You can find the list of approved Connecticut debtor education agencies here.
Connecticut has a set of bankruptcy exemptions that tell you what property you get to protect in Chapter 7 bankruptcy and Chapter 13 bankruptcy. (To learn more, see Bankruptcy Exemptions.)
In Connecticut, you can use either the Connecticut state exemptions, or the federal bankruptcy exemptions. (To learn about the federal exemptions, see The Federal Bankruptcy Exemptions.) You cannot mix and match from each list. If you choose to use the Connecticut state exemptions, you can also use any applicable amounts in the federal nonbankruptcy exemptions.
To learn about Connecticut’s exemptions for your home and car, see The Homestead Exemption in Connecticut and The Motor Vehicle Exemption in Connecticut. To find other Connecticut exemptions, see Connecticut Bankruptcy Exemptions.
When you file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you must complete a bankruptcy petition, a number of schedules containing detailed information about your finances, and several other forms, including a lengthy form known as the “means test” (for Chapter 7) and a similar form for Chapter 13.
(For a list of the forms you must complete, see The Bankruptcy Forms: Getting Started.)
For more information about each of the official forms, including how to find them and fill them out, see Completing the Bankruptcy Forms.
When you file for bankruptcy in Connecticut, you must compare your income to the median income for a household of your size in Connecticut. If your income is less than the median, you'll be eligible to file for Chapter 7 and, if you choose to file for Chapter 13, you can use a three-year repayment plan (rather than five years). This is called the means test.
If your income is above Connecticut’s median income, you still might qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. To find out, you’ll provide detailed information about your expenses and secured debt payments (such as a mortgage and car payment) on Form 122A-2. Most Chapter 13 filers also have to provide similar information to determine how much disposable income they have to pay into a repayment plan.
For information about each of these forms, see:
Here’s how to find the Connecticut-specific figures for these means test forms:
Connecticut median income figures. For a one-person household in Connecticut, the median income is $62,929. For a family of three, the Connecticut median income is $91,867. These figures change periodically. You can find the most current figures for each household size here (as of August 2017; however, these figures change several times per year).
Example. Christopher's annual income is $60,000. He lives alone. He will automatically pass the means test because his income is below $62,929.
Standard deductions. Forms 122A-2 and 122C-2 have a comprehensive list of expense categories, such as housing, transportation, food, and childcare. For some of those categories, like childcare, you provide the actual amount you spend. For others, you plug in a predetermined amount. Sometimes that figure is standard for the whole country, other times it varies by county or region.
You can find all of the Connecticut’s county-specific figures you’ll need for Forms 122A-2 and 122C-2 on the U.S. Trustee’s website at www.justice.gov/ust. Click on “Means Testing Information.”
Example. In Connecticut, the standard amount you list on your bankruptcy papers for housing varies by county. For example, if you live in Middlesex County, your mortgage or rent deduction is $1,345 for a one-person household. But if you live in Hartford County, the deduction is $1,236. You can find housing expense standards for each Connecticut county here (as of August 2017). You'll find updated charts on the U.S. Trustee website.
Some judicial districts and bankruptcy courts require bankruptcy filers to complete additional “local forms.” To find out if your court requires additional forms, contact the bankruptcy filing clerk. Some courts post these forms online on the court’s website. (Below you’ll find a link to Connecticut’s bankruptcy courts.)
Since there is only one judicial district in Connecticut (see below for the link), you don’t need to worry about the rules for filing in the correct judicial district.
The main office is in Hartford, but there are also bankruptcy courts in Bridgeport and New Haven.