December 7, 2017
If you’ve been under financial strain, you might be thinking about filing for bankruptcy. It works well to eliminate (discharge) debt. But before the Connecticut bankruptcy court will grant a discharge, you must provide the court with information about your financial circumstances. This article provides resources you’ll need when preparing a Connecticut bankruptcy case.
(If you’re confused about which bankruptcy chapter is best for you, a good place to start is What Is the Difference Between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?)
Official Bankruptcy Forms
You’ll detail your income, expenses, property, debt, and property transactions on the official forms found on the U.S. Court website. Once complete, you’ll file your paperwork in the local bankruptcy court along with a filing fee or fee waiver and a certificate verifying that you completed a credit counseling course (more below).
Connecticut Bankruptcy Information
Bankruptcy falls under federal law, but the laws and procedures of Connecticut will impact your case, too. Here’s the information you’ll need to get started.
Means Testing and Credit Counseling Information
You will find two types of Connecticut-specific information on the U.S. Trustee website: means testing figures and approved credit counseling providers.
- Means testing information. In Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you’ll have to meet income guidelines and pass a “means test.” If your family income is less than the median income for Connecticut, you qualify. Even if the family income is greater than the median, it’s possible to qualify after subtracting certain standard expenses. Necessary income charts and expense guidelines are on the U.S. Trustee’s website under “Means Testing Information.” You’ll use the same information to calculate your Chapter 13 bankruptcy payment.
- Approved course providers. Most individuals must complete a credit counseling course before filing for bankruptcy. After filing, a debt management course must be completed before receiving a discharge. The U.S. Trustee website lists the approved providers under “Credit Counseling & Debtor Education." Scroll down to find your bankruptcy district.
Connecticut Bankruptcy Court Locations
You’ll find the court’s local rules and instructions for filing your case on the website for the District of Connecticut Bankruptcy Court (select “Filing Without an Attorney” on the navbar). The court has three divisions, each of which has jurisdiction over certain counties. You’ll file your bankruptcy case in the office that serves your county.
|U.S. Bankruptcy CourtAbraham Ribicoff Fed. Bldg.450 Main Street, 7th FloorHartford, CT 06103(869) 240-3675
Counties: Hartford, Tolland, Windham, New London.
|U.S. Bankruptcy CourtBrien McMahon Federal Building915 Lafayette BoulevardBridgeport, CT 06604(203) 579-5808
Counties: Litchfield, Fairfield.
|U.S. Bankruptcy CourtConnecticut Financial Center157 Church Street, 18th FloorNew Haven, CT 06510(203) 773-2009
Counties: Middlesex, New Haven.
Connecticut Bankruptcy Exemptions
You won’t lose everything when you file a bankruptcy case, but it's possible that you won’t be able to exempt (protect) all you own, although many people can. Here are some things you should know.
- Exemption choice. When you file a Connecticut bankruptcy case, you can choose either the federal exemptions or the Connecticut exemptions. You can’t, however, pick and choose individual exemptions from both lists. To learn more about the national list, read The Federal Bankruptcy Exemptions.
- Nonexempt property. A Chapter 7 trustee will sell any nonexempt property that you have to turn over. The proceeds will be used to benefit your creditors. In a Chapter 13 case, you’ll keep the nonexempt property, but you’ll pay out the value over your three to five-year payment plan.
- Jointly-owned property. Spouses filing a joint bankruptcy in Connecticut can double the exemption amount for any property in which both spouses have an ownership interest.
Here’s a list of typical Connecticut exemptions.
- Homestead or residential property. Up to $75,000 of equity in real property, co-op, or a manufactured home that you occupy at the time you file bankruptcy. Spouses can double the homestead exemption. (Conn. Gen Stat. § 52-352b(t).)
- Personal property. Appliances, clothing, food, furniture, and bedding (Conn. Gen Stat. § 52-352b(a)); necessary health aids (Conn. Gen Stat. § 52-352b(f)); burial plot (Conn. Gen Stat. § 52-352b(c)); insurance proceeds for damaged exempt property (Conn. Gen Stat. § 52-352b(q)); residential and utility security deposits for one residence (Conn. Gen Stat. § 52-352b(l)); spendthrift trust funds necessary for the support of you and your family (Conn. Gen Stat. § 52-321(d)); transfers to a licensed debt adjuster (Conn. Gen Stat. § 52-352b(u)); wedding and engagement rings (Conn. Gen Stat. § 52-352b(k)).
- Motor vehicles. Up to $3,500 in equity in your motor vehicle. (Conn. Gen Stat. § 52-352b(j).)
- Public benefits. Public assistance (Conn. Gen Stat. § 52-352b(d)); crime victims’ compensation (Conn. Gen Stat. § 52-352b(o), § 54-213); military personnel arms, equipment, uniforms, and instruments (Conn. Gen Stat. § 52-352b(i)); Social Security (Conn. Gen Stat. § 52-352b(g)); veterans’ benefits (Conn. Gen Stat. § 52-352b(g)); workers’ compensation (Conn. Gen Stat. § 52-352b(g)).
- Tools of the trade. Necessary tools, books, and farm animals (Conn. Gen Stat. § 52-352b(b)); farm partnership animals and livestock reasonably required to operate the farm at which 50% or more of the partners are members of the same family (Conn. Gen Stat. § 52-352d).
- Wildcard. $1,000 of any property. (Conn. Gen Stat. § 52-352b(r).)
- Domestic support. Alimony, to the extent that wages are exempt (Conn. Gen Stat. § 52-352b(n)); child support (Conn. Gen Stat. § 52-352b(h)).
- Wages. 75% of disposable wages or 40 times the minimum wage, whichever is higher. (Conn. Gen Stat. § 52-352a(f).)
Additional exemptions exist. Also, Connecticut updates exemptions periodically. Verify the current exemption amounts at the website of the Connecticut General Assembly.
This overview cannot provide all information needed in a bankruptcy case. You’ll need to be aware of all relevant areas of bankruptcy law before filing your matter. A self-help book like How to File Chapter 7 Bankruptcy by Attorney Cara O’Neill and Albin Renauer J.D. will provide step-by-step instructions for completing the bankruptcy paperwork.