May 29, 2019
Filing for bankruptcy works well to eliminate debt and give you a fresh start. The process involves providing the Connecticut bankruptcy court information about your financial circumstances.
This article explains where to find resources you’ll need when preparing your Connecticut bankruptcy paperwork, such as:
- property exemption laws
- figures needed when taking the means test
- the official bankruptcy forms and credit counseling providers, and
- your local Connecticut bankruptcy court.
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?
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.
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. 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 for bankruptcy together 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.
Connecticut Homestead Exemption
- 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).)
Connecticut Motor Vehicle Exemption
- Motor vehicles. Up to $3,500 in equity in your motor vehicle. (Conn. Gen Stat. § 52-352b(j).)
Connecticut Wildcard Exemption
- Wildcard. $1,000 of any property. (Conn. Gen Stat. § 52-352b(r).)
Other Connecticut Bankruptcy Exemptions
- 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)).
- 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).
- 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).)
- Pensions and tax-exempt retirement accounts. Municipal employees, state employees, teachers (Conn. Gen Stat. § 7-446; 5-171 and 5-192w; 10-183q.) Under federal law, 401(k)s, 403(b)s, profit-sharing and money purchase plans, SEP and SIMPLE IRAs, and defined-benefit plans (11 U.S.C. § 522(b)(3)(C).) Learn more about retirement accounts in bankruptcy.
Additional exemptions exist. Also, Connecticut updates exemptions periodically. You’ll want to verify the current exemption amounts at the website of the Connecticut General Assembly or by consulting with a local bankruptcy attorney.
Connecticut Means Testing and Education 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.
Bankruptcy Costs, Filing Fees, and Forms
Even though most people will pay something to file a bankruptcy case, you’ll likely come out ahead. Here’s what you can expect.
- Official bankruptcy forms. Before the Connecticut bankruptcy court wipes out qualifying debt, you must disclose all aspects of your financial situation—income, expenses, property, debt, and property transactions—on official bankruptcy forms. These forms are free. After filling out the bankruptcy forms online on the U.S. Bankruptcy Court forms web page, you’ll file your paperwork in your local bankruptcy court (more below) along with a filing fee or fee waiver.
- Bankruptcy filing fees or fee waiver. You’ll pay a filing fee when you file your paperwork with the court unless you qualify for a fee waiver. Find out about both in Bankruptcy Filing Fees and Costs.
- Bankruptcy lawyer fees. The cost to hire a lawyer varies depending on the area. Find out the benefits of being represented by an attorney.
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.
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.