Bankruptcy is a system of federal law, so the process to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy or to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy is nearly identical in every state, including Connecticut. However, state law still plays an important role, particularly in setting property exemptions, which determine what property you get to keep (if you file for Chapter 7) and how much you have to repay your creditors (if you file for Chapter 13). There are also important resources available to you by state.
Connecticut Credit Counseling
Before you file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Connecticut, you will have to complete mandatory credit counseling with an agency that’s been approved by the United States Trustee’s Office. Here’s a list of agencies in Connecticut that have been approved to provide this counseling.
Where to File for Bankruptcy in Connecticut
Connecticut has bankruptcy courts in Hartford, Bridgeport, and New Haven. You can find information on forms, local rules, and more at the website of the bankruptcy courts for the District of Connecticut. At each district’s website, you can find information on forms, local rules, and more.
Like every other state, Connecticut has its own set of property exemptions. (To learn more about how property exemptions work generally and which exemptions you may use, see Bankruptcy Exemptions: What Do I Keep When I File for Bankruptcy?)
In Connecticut, bankruptcy filers can choose between the state’s list of exemptions and the federal list of exemptions. Connecticut debtors may use either list, but they can’t mix and match, choosing some exemptions from one list and some from the other.
Connecticut’s state exemption list allows homeowners to exempt up to $75,000 of equity in a home and up to $1,500 of equity in a vehicle. Connecticut also provides a wildcard exemption, which debtors can use to protect $1,000 worth of any property they choose.
The Means Test
When you file for bankruptcy, you must compare your income to the median income in Connecticut for a household of your size. If your income is less than the Connecticut median, you will 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).
Currently, the median Connecticut income for a four-person household is just under $99,500; these figures change periodically. You can find the most recent amounts on the website of the U.S. Trustee at www.justice.gov/ust. Click on “Bankruptcy Reform,” and then “Means Testing Information.” Or go directly to the Census Bureau table here.
Debtor Education in Connecticut
After you file for bankruptcy but before you receive your discharge, you must take a debtor education course. Like the mandatory credit counseling you must take before filing your forms, you must receive debtor education from an agency approved by the U.S. Trustee’s Office. Here a list of agencies approved to provide this course in Connecticut.
Finding a Bankruptcy Lawyer
If you're considering bankruptcy, you may want to talk to an experienced Connecticut bankruptcy lawyer.