Written by the Upsolve Team.
Updated September 29, 2020
Living on the East Coast is enjoyable and exciting but also often very expensive. As a result, even the most financially responsible residents of New Haven can easily find themselves struggling when the basic costs of living just become “too much.” If creditors are consistently harassing you and you’re not sure how to manage your monthly debt payments and household expenses at the same time, you’re not alone. Millions of Americans have taken advantage of a debt-relief solution that may be available to you and your family as well. Connecticut bankruptcy can help to erase your debts so that you can turn your attention away from burdensome monthly payments to your creditors and focus on your family’s immediate financial needs and building a strong financial future. Since the Great Recession of 2008, an increasing number of Americans understand that few families are insulated from the potential financial devastation that a single job loss, medical diagnosis, loss of a loved one, or serious accident can cause. As a result, filing bankruptcy no longer carries the stigma it once did. Now that the public better understands the many benefits of this process, filing bankruptcy in New Haven has become both a powerful and increasingly popular financial tool for many residents of The Elm City.
You may be wondering if New Haven bankruptcy is the right path forward for you and the rest of your household. Filing bankruptcy is a big decision and shouldn’t be approached lightly. To make an informed decision about whether to file bankruptcy and which kind of bankruptcy process may work best for your family, you’ll need to carefully examine your financial circumstances, including your debts, assets, income, and expenses. Chapter 13 bankruptcy restructures your debt so that it’s easier to make your monthly debt payments. Filing bankruptcy under Chapter 7 erases many kinds of debt so that you no longer have to pay your creditors back. If you don’t yet own many expensive possessions and you don't make a lot of money, you may benefit especially from Chapter 7 bankruptcy because this option offers a fresh financial start in as little as 90 days.
New Haven Bankruptcy Lawyers – Estimated Cost
“How much does a New Haven bankruptcy lawyer cost?” you ask. The relative cost of a bankruptcy lawyer - which will probably be somewhere between $800 and $2,400 for a Chapter 7 case - depends on your location and how complex your financial situation is. If your household is low-income and you don’t own much valuable property, filing bankruptcy in New Haven is usually so easy that you can complete necessary bankruptcy paperwork yourself without a lawyer. However if you make an okay income, have few valuable assets, and your debts aren’t complex, you could potentially benefit fromhiring a lawyer to help guide you through the process. If you’re not sure whether hiring a lawyer for your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in New Haven is right for you, schedule a couple of free consultations with local bankruptcy lawyers to learn more about how they can help.
How to File Bankruptcy in New Haven, Connecticut for Free
If filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy in New Haven may be right for you, please review this introductory guide to completing bankruptcy forms, credit counseling, and the Connecticut bankruptcy process generally. You will likely be able to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy without an attorney as long as your finances are not unusually complex, and your household meets specific income limits.
Collect Your New Haven Bankruptcy Documents
One of the challenges of filing bankruptcy in New Haven is that it involves filling out a lot of paperwork. You’ll need to print out specific documents before you can officially file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in New Haven. For the Court to understand why you can’t pay your creditors now or over the next few years under Chapter 13, it will need to examine proof of your assets, debts, income, and expenses. To provide this information in a straightforward and accessible way, you’ll need to prepare a list of the creditors you owe money to, explain your regular sources of income, categorize your debts and disclose your regular household expenses. You’ll also need to submit some copies of official documents, like the titles to any vehicles you may own. If you don't know where to find copies of any documentation the Court requests of you, resist the urge to panic. Your employer can provide you with copies of work-related information and you can usually request copies of other official documents as needed.
Take Credit Counseling
If you join friends for a night out in a sports bar anywhere in New Haven, you’ll likely overhear at least one conversation about the coaching staff at UConn. Just as successful sports seasons depend upon good coaching, a successful New Haven bankruptcy will depend upon your participation in credit counseling. Credit counseling allows you to explore many debt-relief options before you commit to a single solution, like Chapter 7 bankruptcy in New Haven. You can participate in a credit counseling course conveniently online. When determining which available credit counseling program may work best for you, make sure that it has been approved by the Department of Justice for the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Connecticut or you won’t receive credit for your participation.
Complete the Bankruptcy Forms
When thinking about how to file bankruptcy in New Haven, you may wonder if you can make it through this process yourself without legal assistance from an attorney. The paperwork you will be asked to fill out is almost always straightforward and comes with directions for each step of the process. The Court mainly wants to know about your finances, both broadly and in detail. When filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy in New Haven, you’ll be asked about your income and expenses. You’ll also be asked about the kinds of property you own, your debts, and how much you owe each individual creditor.
Get Your Filing Fee
The cost of filing bankruptcy in New Haven under Chapter 7 is $335. However, you may request a fee waiver if you can’t afford to pay this fee upfront or in installments. If you live below 150% of the poverty line, you are eligible to apply for a waiver. The Court will want to make sure you still can’t pay this fee in installments after you have successfully filed for New Haven bankruptcy and are no longer paying monthly debt payments to your creditors. As a result, you’ll need to make sure that eliminating your monthly debt payments doesn’t free up enough of your income that you can pay this fee before you submit a waiver request.
Print Your Bankruptcy Forms
Unlike most government processes, you can’t file New Haven bankruptcy online. The bankruptcy process is still “old school,” so your forms will need to be physically printed out before you can submit them to the Court. Fewer Americans have printers in their homes than they used to because so much everyday business is now conducted online. If you don’t have a printer at home, consider visiting one of the 5 branches of the New Haven Free Public Library. You can print your forms out at the library and pick up a good book, a great soundtrack, or an engaging DVD while you’re there.
Go to Court to File Your Forms
Whether you enjoy attending play performances at Yale or hanging out in funky coffee shops around town, you know that New Haven has a lot to offer. For example, New Haven is part of the District of Connecticut and has a federal courthouse right in the city. That means you won’t have to travel far to finish filing bankruptcy in New Haven. Bring a photo ID and your paperwork to 157 Church Street, right near the Green in downtown New Haven, when your forms are complete. Submitting printed documents in-person is a bit of a hassle. However, in-person filing ensures that nothing can get lost in the shuffle now that your case is ready to be considered by the Court.
Mail Documents to Your Trustee
Once your paperwork has been submitted, the Court will appoint a Trustee to oversee certain aspects of your case. Specifically, to finalize Chapter 7 bankruptcy in New Haven, a Trustee will need to examine your paperwork and will need to conduct a meeting with you and any creditors that care to show up to that meeting. During the meeting, you will be placed under oath and asked to answer questions about your finances. Before that meeting can take place, your Trustee will need to review your paperwork. The website for the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Connecticut provides you with the contact information for all Chapter 7 Trustees. If you don’t hear from your Trustee within 2 weeks of filing bankruptcy in New Haven, it’s recommended that you reach out to their office to find out what they need from you. They usually want everything submitted to them at least a week before your meeting.
Take Bankruptcy Course 2
Just as coaches have a great deal of advice to give to their players, credit counselors have so much valuable advice to pass on that it can’t all be communicated in one course. As a result, bankruptcy filers are required to take a debtor education course in addition to the pre-filing credit counseling requirement. You’ll again need to choose a course that has been approved by the Department of Justice for the District of Connecticut for your participation to “count” toward your New Haven bankruptcy case requirements. Again, you should be able to take a convenient online course, as long as the course is DOJ approved.
Attend Your 341 Meeting
The meeting that the Trustee oversees between you and any of your creditors that show up is referred to as a 341 meeting. Filing bankruptcy in New Haven is a legal process, so the Court needs to trust that the information you provided on your forms is accurate before it can decide your case. This is why your Trustee will ask you questions under oath at your meeting. You will probably meet one-on-one, as creditors rarely attend 341 meetings when the debts at stake aren’t particularly complex or high in value. Before your meeting, take some deep breaths and remember to answer honestly, or you’ll risk getting into trouble with the Court.
Dealing with Your Car
If you are worried about what filing bankruptcy in New Haven will mean for your car, you aren’t alone. Many filers are concerned that filing bankruptcy will mean that they’ll have to surrender their car. Returning your car to your creditor is an option, especially if you’d like to get out of making high monthly car payments. However, you can also choose to reaffirm your debt or redeem the car. Reaffirming the car means that you’ll agree to pay off your car, based on the original terms of the loan, and continue to be personally obligated to pay the debt. Redeeming the car means that you’ll pay off the market value balance of the vehicle in a lump sum. If you own the car outright, you should be able to keep it as long as the exemptions you choose cover the full value of the vehicle.
Connecticut Bankruptcy Means Test, Bankruptcy Forms, and Exemptions for New Haven
Connecticut Means Test
There is an eligibility test connected with filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in New Haven. It is called the Connecticut bankruptcy Means Test for Chapter 7. The Connecticut bankruptcy Means Test examines the size of your household, your household expenses, and your income. It then compares your income to specific income limits outlined in the Bankruptcy Code for Connecticut while taking your household size and expenses into account. If you are part of a lower-income household, you’re likely to pass the Means Test; if you don’t pass, you may benefit from exploring alternative bankruptcy options with the assistance of an attorney.
Median Income Levels for Connecticut
Connecticut Median Income Standards for Means Test for Cases Filed On or After May 1, 2020
|Household Size||Monthly Income||Annual Income|
Poverty Levels for Connecticut
Connecticut Fee Waiver Eligibility for Cases Filed On or After May 1, 2020
Eligible for fee waiver when under 150% the poverty level.
|Household Size||State Poverty Level||Fee Waiver Limit (150% PL)|
Connecticut Bankruptcy Forms
As previously mentioned, you’ll need to physically print Connecticut bankruptcy forms as you prepare to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in New Haven. The forms you need will seem complex at first glance, but they come with directions that are easy to follow, so don’t let your paperwork overwhelm you before you dig into it.
Everyone who files for New Haven bankruptcy benefits from something called exemptions. When Connecticut bankruptcy exemptions are applied to your property, your Trustee can’t sell it for the benefit of your creditors. Low-income filers without significantly valuable property can usually keep most or all of their property safe from the Trustee during and after the bankruptcy process.