Connecticut Bankruptcy

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Summary

Live in Connecticut and need help filing for bankruptcy and can't afford an attorney? Our legal aid nonprofit guides Connecticut debtors through the chapter 7 process.

There are a lot of great things about living in Connecticut, but the high cost of living is not one of them. While it doesn't cost anything to enjoy the beautiful fall foliage, or explore the 250 miles of coastline, life is hardly enjoyable when you don't know how to pay all your bills before the end of the month. If you end up cringing every time the phone rings because your creditors are calling you constantly, it may make sense to look at Connecticut bankruptcy laws and research the relief available to you. There are a number of options for individuals needing relief from their creditors. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Connecticut can give you a fresh start by wiping out most of your debts, so you can go back to using your income for things like rent, groceries or childcare.

How to File Bankruptcy in Connecticut for Free

Filing bankruptcy in the Constitution State can be an expensive proposition, but it does not have to be. If your income is less than 150% of the federal poverty guidelines, you can ask the court to waive the $335 fee to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Connecticut. The other big expense typically associated with any legal proceeding is attorneys' fees. However, individuals filing Chapter 7 in Connecticut can do so without an attorney ("pro se").


Collect Your Connecticut Bankruptcy Documents

Documents, like your income tax returns, your paycheck stubs, and a recent copy of your credit report, are the primary tools you will use to tell the Bankruptcy Court your story. This is because they contain a lot of the information you need to complete your forms; and, relying on this information allows you to make sure that you are not accidentally missing anything that could jeopardize the success of your Connecticut bankruptcy. If your debts are not mostly (as in more than 50%) business debts, you should collect all the paycheck stubs you received in the last 7 months to properly calculate your income. If you are thinking about closing a bank account before filing, it's recommended that you collect the bank statements for the account for at least the last 6 months before you do so. While you probably won't need the bank statements when completing the forms necessary for filing bankruptcy in Connecticut, you may need them later.

Take Credit Counseling

Even though you may have done everything that you were supposed to do and only find yourself in this situation because of something you couldn't control, you cannot be a debtor in a bankruptcy if you do not first take credit counseling course 1. It's important that you take the course from a provider approved to offer it to folks filing bankruptcy in Connecticut, and you should expect to pay between $10 - $50 for the class. The class will take about two hours or so and everything is done either online or by phone. Unfortunately, none of the providers approved for Connecticut bankruptcy cases offer the course in person. The certification of completion for the class is only good for 6 months after you take it; so, if you are not planning on filing right away after taking it, make sure to mark your calendar to avoid having to take it (and pay for it) again.

Complete the Bankruptcy Forms

Now that you have collected your bankruptcy documents and gotten an overview of your financial situation by taking the credit counseling course, it's time to complete the forms you need to file your Connecticut bankruptcy case. The court's website is a good place to start as it gives you an overview of the different chapters and tells you what's required when filing bankruptcy in Connecticut. If you are working with a lawyer, they will complete the forms based on the information and documentation they get from you. If you are eligible to file with Upsolve, we will assist you in completing the forms. If you are filing Chapter 7 in Connecticut without an attorney, you are responsible for making sure everything is completed correctly.

Get Your Filing Fee

Filing Chapter 7 in Connecticut comes with a $335 court filing fee. This fee is due when you bring your forms to the courthouse for filing and you can only pay it in cash or as a money order in the exact amount due. If this presents a hardship, and you do not qualify to have your court filing fee waived for your bankruptcy case, just remember this means that you are doing better financially than those who do get approved for a waiver. Then, prepare to ask the court to pay the fee for filing Chapter 7 in Connecticut in installments. This allows you to get the protections of the Connecticut bankruptcy laws now, while giving you up to 4 months to pay the court fee. If you go this route, be aware that failure to make a single payment can result in your case being thrown out. Plan on making each payment on time (or early).

Some of the forms that you have to prepare for your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Connecticut are time sensitive. That's why it is a good idea to hold off finalizing and printing everything until after you have figured out how to pay the court filing fee. Most the forms look similar, so don't rush this part of the process, especially if you have everything saved on your computer as different files. As you print everything, do a final check of the information on the form to make sure everything saved correctly, then sign where indicated on each form. Most people filing bankruptcy in Connecticut, end up with a filing packet of at least 30 pages. Even though it may be tempting to do so, given the sheer number of pages being printed, do not print on both sides of the paper. The clerk's office will not accept that.  

Go to Court to File Your Forms

If you don't have an attorney, then filing Chapter 7 in Connecticut means going to the courthouse to bring in your forms in person. When you head to court to do that, remember that you will be entering a federal building, and review the court’s security policies before heading out. Once you get there, you will need to look for the clerk's office. That is where you have to go to officially file your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Connecticut. Since it will come in helpful down the road, it's a good idea to bring your own file copy of your paperwork and have the clerk stamp it with your filing information. The filing process should not take a lot of time (especially if you are organized!), but you can't predict how long the line at the clerk's office will be. In light of that, make sure you park in a location where you won't have to worry about getting a ticket if you are there too long; after all, you have plenty of other things going on already.

Mail Documents to Your Trustee

The United States Trustee assigns a case trustee for every Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Connecticut. The trustee is an independent contractor for the Department of Justice, and it's their job to make sure that creditors get what they are due, although more often than not, creditors don't get anything. One of the documents the trustee needs to review is your federal income tax return from the prior year. Since that is not something that most folks filing bankruptcy in Connecticut want the world to see, it is not filed with the court. Instead, you have to mail a copy of your return to your trustee more than 7 days before your 341 meeting is scheduled to take place. You should also keep an eye out for any correspondence from your trustee after filing Chapter 7 in Connecticut, as there may be other documents they want to review before your 341 meeting.

Take Bankruptcy Course 2

In order to get a discharge in your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Connecticut, you have to take the second bankruptcy course. Congress added this requirement to the bankruptcy laws in 2005 with the hope that requiring everyone take a course on financial management will help debtors make the most of their fresh start. As before, it is important that you only take this course from an approved provider; otherwise, it will not satisfy the requirement. Once done, a certificate of completion has to be filed with the court, so there is an official record that you completed this requirement. Someone filing bankruptcy in Connecticut without an attorney ("pro se") can actually file the certificate online themselves, thereby avoiding another trip to the courthouse.

Attend Your 341 Meeting

The 341 meeting, also called a creditors' meeting, sounds really scary, but it really is nothing to be worried about. It's primarily an opportunity for your trustee to check your identity and ask you some questions that everyone filing bankruptcy in Connecticut has to answer. Creditors can appear and ask questions as well, but that hardly ever happens. Everyone who is in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Connecticut will have to attend their creditors meeting either in New Haven or Hartford. In other words, even if your case is assigned to the Bridgeport division, you will have to make your way to New Haven for the creditors meeting when filing Chapter 7 in Connecticut. Preparing for the 341 meeting is relatively straight  forward, as the most important parts are (1) showing up on time, and (2) bringing a government issued picture ID and acceptable proof of your social security number. The questions you will be asked are about your life, specifically, your financial situation, so just take a deep breath and simply tell the truth. If you don't understand a specific question the trustee is asking you, it is totally okay to ask them to clarify or rephrase it. They would much rather take a minute to do that, than get the wrong answer to a confusing question.  

Dealing with Your Car

When you file Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Connecticut, you will have to make sure you deal with your car as both, an asset, and, if you have a car loan, a debt. If you don't have equity in your car because the loan balance is higher than what the car is worth at this point, then it's not really an asset the trustee could reach. This is because if they sold the car, all of the proceeds from the sale would have to go towards the car loan, leaving nothing for unsecured debt. If your car is paid off, or you have equity because you are close to paying off the car loan, you can keep the car as long as the equity is less than the exemption amounts available for people filing bankruptcy in Connecticut. Keep in mind, however, that if you keep a car that still has a loan on it, you have to enter into a reaffirmation agreement, which means keeping the car loan as well. If your vehicle's value is significantly less than what is owed on the loan (after all, Connecticut roads are not exactly kind to cars), it may make sense to get out from under the loan by either redeeming the vehicle, or surrendering it to the creditor. Either option relieves you from the responsibility of having to pay off your car loan.

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Connecticut Bankruptcy Means Test

The Connecticut means test for bankruptcy makes sure that only folks that qualify for Chapter 7 relief file Chapter 7 bankruptcy.  If your income is less than the median household income for a household of your size, you "pass" the means test. If you make more than that, Connecticut bankruptcy laws allow you to subtract certain amounts for your regular monthly expenses. If it's clear that there is no money left to pay your debts after putting food on the table and paying rent or a mortgage, you pass the means test (even though you technically "failed" the first part).

Data on Median income levels for Connecticut

Connecticut Median Income Standards for Means Test for Cases Filed On or After May 1, 2019
Household SizeMonthly IncomeAnnual Income
1$5,426.42$65,117.00
2$6,966.42$83,597.00
3$8,403.00$100,836.00
4$9,741.42$116,897.00
5$10,491.42$125,897.00
6$11,241.42$134,897.00
7$11,991.42$143,897.00
8$12,741.42$152,897.00
9$13,491.42$161,897.00
10$14,241.42$170,897.00

Data on Poverty levels for Connecticut

Connecticut Fee Waiver Eligibility for Cases Filed On or After May 1, 2019
Eligible for fee waiver when under 150% the poverty level.
Household SizeState Poverty LevelFee Waiver Limit (150% PL)
1$1,040.83$1,561.25
2$1,409.17$2,113.75
3$1,777.50$2,666.25
4$2,145.83$3,218.75
5$2,514.17$3,771.25
6$2,882.50$4,323.75
7$3,250.83$4,876.25
8$3,619.17$5,428.75
9$3,987.50$5,981.25
10$4,355.83$6,533.75
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Connecticut Bankruptcy Forms

The majority of the Connecticut bankruptcy forms are based on the national forms every state  uses, though there are some specific local forms approved only for use in the District of Connecticut. One of the most unique - and potentially helpful - form in the Constitution State is the Application for Appointment of Attorney. With this form, you can ask the Court to appoint a lawyer to help you navigate your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Connecticut.

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District of Connecticut Requirements

Connecticut is a single federal district, broken into three divisions, hearing Connecticut bankruptcy cases based on where the debtor lives. The Bridgeport division handles the counties of Litchfield and Fairfield. The New Haven division hears cases for folks that live in either Middlesex County or New Haven County. Finally, the state's capitol, Hartford, hears cases for folks living in the counties of Hartford, Tolland, Windham and New London. If you have to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Connecticut after regular business hours, due to an emergency, you can contact the clerk to schedule an appointment to do so.

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Connecticut Bankruptcy Exemptions

If you have lived in the Constitution State at least 3 years before you file your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Connecticut, you can choose to protect your assets either using federal bankruptcy exemptions or Connecticut bankruptcy exemptions. If you own a home, the state exemptions allow you to protect up to $75,000 in equity if you are single, and twice that amount if you are married, as long as you live in the home.

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Connecticut Bankruptcy Lawyer Cost

The cost of a bankruptcy lawyer varies depending on the complexity of your case and can, on average, go as high as $2,400.  Most lawyers practicing Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Connecticut offer free consultations. This will allow them to get an idea of what kind of issues might arise in your case and give you a quote of how much it would cost to hire them.

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If you don’t have the resources to hire an attorney, but are not comfortable going forward on your own, take a look at the various Connecticut legal aid organizations in your area. People having to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Connecticut often qualify for assistance through one of these organizations that  help low-income individuals and families.

Statewide Legal Services of Connecticut, Inc.
(860) 344-8096
1290 Silas Deane Highway, Suite 3A, Wethersfield, CT 06109

Upsolve
Nationwide Service (NYC Office)

Upsolve Location
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Connecticut Court Locations

Brien McMahon Federal Building and United States Courthouse
203-579-5808
915 Lafayette Boulevard Bridgeport, CT 06604

Brien McMahon Federal Building and United States Courthouse

Connecticut Financial Center
203-773-2009
157 Church Street New Haven, CT 06510

Connecticut Financial Center

Abraham Ribicoff Federal Building and United States Courthouse
860-240-3675
450 Main Street Hartford, CT 06103

Abraham Ribicoff Federal Building and United States Courthouse
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Connecticut Judges

Brien McMahon Federal Building and United States Courthouse
203-579-5808
915 Lafayette Boulevard Bridgeport, CT 06604

Brien McMahon Federal Building and United States Courthouse

Connecticut Financial Center
203-773-2009
157 Church Street New Haven, CT 06510

Connecticut Financial Center

Abraham Ribicoff Federal Building and United States Courthouse
860-240-3675
450 Main Street Hartford, CT 06103

Abraham Ribicoff Federal Building and United States Courthouse
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Connecticut Trustees

Connecticut Trustees
TrusteeContact Info
Richard M. Coan
(203)624-4756
Barbara H. Katz
(203)772-4828
Bonnie C. Mangan
(860)644-4204
Anthony S. Novak
(860) 432-7710
John J. O'Neil
(203)527-3171
Kara S. Rescia
(860) 452-0052
George I. Roumeliotis
(203) 580-3355
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