FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Do I need an attorney to file bankruptcy? What if I can not afford one?
While it is possible to file a bankruptcy case "pro se" (without an attorney), it can be difficult. Hiring an
attorney is highly recommended because many bankruptcy issues can be very complicated and it can
be difficult to prepare the required paperwork. In addition, debtors may keep certain types of property
(known as exempt property), and there are many types of debts that are non-dischargeable (not wiped
out in the bankruptcy). An attorney can advise debtors on these issues. The staff at the Bankruptcy
Clerk’s Office cannot give legal advice. If you have questions about filing for bankruptcy or preparing
the bankruptcy paperwork, please seek the advice of counsel.
If you can not afford an attorney, you can apply for pro bono representation (free representation).
Please note: Only the Bridgeport and New Haven divisions have pro bono programs.
Is there a fee to file a bankruptcy case? Can it be paid in installments? Can it be waived?
There is a fee to file a bankruptcy petition. It varies depending on which chapter (7,11,12 or 13) you
are filing. Click here to view all fees . Failure to pay the filing fee at the time of filing may result in
your case being dismissed. However, an individual debtor who is unable to pay the full fee at the time
of filing must either file an application to pay the fee in installment payments or file a motion to waive
the filing fee at the same time the petition is filed.
Where do I file my bankruptcy petition?
You may file your petition in any of the three divisions (Hartford, New Haven and Bridgeport), but we prefer that petitions be filed at the court where your case will be heard. Please Click Here for Where To File.
Where can I get the forms to file bankruptcy? Which forms do I need to fill out?
Click here for Chapter 7 forms and requirements.
What is the difference between chapters 7, 11 and 13?
Chapter 7 is often called the "liquidation chapter". It is used by individuals, partnerships or
corporations who have no hope for repairing their financial situation. In Chapter 7, the debtor’s estate is
liquidated under the rules of the Bankruptcy Code. Liquidation is the process through which the
debtor’s nonexempt property is sold for cash by a trustee and the cash is distributed to creditors.
Chapter 11 is often called the "reorganization chapter". It allows corporations, partnerships, and
individuals to reorganize their debts, without having to liquidate all their assets. In a Chapter 11 case,
the debtor presents a plan to creditors which, if accepted by the creditors and approved by the Court,
will allow the debtor to reorganize personal financial or business affairs and again become financially
Chapter 13. An individual with regular income who is overcome by debts, but believes such debts can
be repaid within a reasonable period of time, may file under Chapter 13 of the Bankruptcy Code.
Chapter 13 permits the debtor to file a plan in which the debtor agrees to pay a certain percentage of
future income to the Bankruptcy Court for payment to creditors. If the Court approves the plan, the
debtor will be under the Court’s protection while repaying such debts.
How do I change information on my bankruptcy schedules after they are filed?
You can file an amendment to schedules by filing ONLY the schedules that are being amended. You
should not refile all the schedules. Each schedule being amended should be clearly labeled
"AMENDED" at the top of the page. A filing fee must be paid when amending a schedule by
adding a creditor, deleting a creditor or changing an amount on a schedule. Click here for current filing fees.
What is the automatic stay?
The filing of a bankruptcy petition automatically stays (stops) most actions, including collections,
against the debtor or the debtor’s property. It is called "automatic" because the stay begins
automatically at the time the bankruptcy case is filed with the Clerk’s Office. Once the stay is in
place, creditors are prohibited from taking certain actions against a debtor.
Will the automatic stay stop creditors from calling my home and work?
It will help. After you file your petition with the court, the Clerk’s Office will send a written notice of
your bankruptcy filing to all of the creditors you listed on your creditor mailing matrix. Although this
notice goes out within one to two days of filing, it may take up to a week or longer for creditors to
receive this notice because of mail time. If a creditor calls after you have filed your petition, simply tell
them you have filed for bankruptcy and that they will receive notice of this in the mail. If the creditor
was not one listed on your mailing matrix, you should update your matrix with the Clerk’s Office so that
future notices about your bankruptcy can be sent to that creditor. It is important to make sure you list
all your creditors on your matrix, because if a creditor doesn’t get notice of your bankruptcy, his debt
might not be discharged in your bankruptcy. Please see "How do I change information on my
bankruptcy schedules after they are filed?" if you need to add a creditor.
Once a creditor receives notice of your bankruptcy filing, they may not attempt collection of a debt
from you unless they follow certain actions, such as obtaining relief from stay, allowed by the court. If
a creditor continues to try to collect a debt from you after being notified of your bankruptcy, you
should contact an attorney immediately for advice.
What if I have an emergency filing after hours?
To file an emergency petition with the Clerk after regular business hours, An appointment must be arranged. Contact the Clerk at (860) 240-3845 or the Deputy Clerk at (203) 579-5809.
How many copies do I need to file at the court?
None. You may bring an extra copy to be time stamped for your records.
Do I need to send a copy of the petition to anyone else?
The Clerk’s Office will notify all the creditors you have listed on your creditor matrix of your
bankruptcy filing by mailing a notice to them. For this reason, it is very important that you
provide complete addresses, including city, state and zip code, for each creditor on your matrix.
What do you mean by ‘List of Creditors’?
A list of creditors is a list of the names and current addresses of all creditors and other parties that
should have notice of a bankruptcy. It is prepared by a debtor and must be filed at the same time the
bankruptcy petition is filed. As a debtor, it is your responsibility to ensure you have listed current,
valid addresses for your creditors. If mail sent by you or the Clerk’s Office regarding your bankruptcy
comes back as "undeliverable," it is your responsibility to try to find a good address for the creditor
and notify the Clerk’s Office of the good address. Additionally, if you obtain a different address for a
creditor after you file your bankruptcy, you must notify the Clerk’s Office in writing of the new
What is a Section 341 Meeting or Meeting of Creditors?
The section 341 meeting, also called the meeting of creditors or creditor’s meeting, is a meeting that a
debtor is required to attend after filing bankruptcy. The meeting is conducted by the case trustee or the
U.S. Trustee. The debtor must appear at this meeting and testify, under oath, about his financial
condition, assets and debts. The debtor will be asked about the information he has placed on his
bankruptcy paperwork. Creditors may also attend this meeting and question the debtor, although the
meeting is directed by the trustee assigned to the case and most of the questions originate with him. If a
debtor fails to attend the meeting, his bankruptcy case can be dismissed.
What if I am unable to attend the creditor’s meeting on the day scheduled?
If you are unable to attend the creditor’s meeting on the day it is scheduled, you must contact the
Trustee assigned to your case and request the matter be continued.
The Bankruptcy Clerk’s Office cannot answer any question about changes to the 341 Meeting of
Creditors. All questions about this meeting must be directed to the Trustee assigned to the case or the
U.S. Trustee’s Office at 203-773-2210.
What is the function of the U.S. Trustee and where are they located?
The Office of the United States Trustee is an Executive Branch agency that is part of the Department of
Justice. It is responsible for monitoring the administration of bankruptcy cases and detecting
bankruptcy fraud. It is also responsible for appointing panel trustees to administer chapter 7 and
chapter 13 cases. The U. S. Trustee also provides support and oversight to debtors who have filed
Chapter 11. The individuals appointed by the U.S. Trustee to serve as interim or standing trustees in
bankruptcy cases are appointed on a rotating basis and come from a list that changes over time.
If you would like additional information regarding the trustee program or individual trustees,
please click here for U.S. Trustee web site or click here for the U.S. Trustee web site for
Connecticut/Region 2 . For a listing of all Panel Trustees, please click here .
How long does it take to go through a bankruptcy or get my discharge?
Each case is different, but a general rule of thumb in a Chapter 7 case is that a debtor’s discharge will
be entered about 120 to 150 days after the case was filed. The entry of a discharge may take longer if
a debtor’s entitlement to the discharge is contested. In Chapter 11 cases, a discharge is obtained when
the plan is confirmed and other Bankruptcy Code requirements have been satisfied. In Chapter 12 and
13 cases, a discharge is not entered until the plan has been completed. Chapter 12 and 13 plans
generally last from 36 to 60 months (3 to 5 years).
How long does a bankruptcy stay on my credit report?
A bankruptcy generally affects a debtor’s credit report for 7 to 10 years. However, this depends
entirely on the individual credit reporting agency. The Bankruptcy Court has no influence on the type of
information the credit bureaus report, nor how long they keep it in their records.
Can I fax documents to the Bankruptcy Court for filing?
No, unless the Judge directs otherwise.
How can I obtain a transcript or a tape of a hearing?
Both should be submitted to the clerk’s office where the case is pending.
Where can I get more information?
This court’s web site has a link to "Bankruptcy Basics" website put out by the U.S. Courts.
How do I get a proof of claim form?
Click here for a proof of claim form. Submit the form to the clerk’s office where the case is pending.
How do I obtain information or copies on a case?
Telephone Access: Basic information, such at the debtor or debtor's attorney's name, case number,
or the name of the trustee is available on the telephone by calling the VCIS (Voice Case Information System)
at 1-866-222-8029 This information is provided free of charge and is available 24 hours a day from any
touch tone phone.
Computer Access: Electronic case summaries, docket information, and viewable copies of all pleadings filed since 1998,
may be retrieved via the Internet through the Public Access to Court Electronic
Records system (PACER). This system requires that you be a registered participant, and there is a fee
for access ($0.08 per page, with a page being approximately 50 lines of text). This charge is limited to
the first thirty pages of a document or report screen you are running, but is charged each time you open
a new document. For PACER registration information, click here for the PACER Service Center website.
In Person: Documents may be viewed in person or retrieved for copying at the Clerk's Office. Cases
which are one year old or older may be closed and archived at the Federal Records Center in
Waltham, MA. To determine if a case has been archived, contact the Clerk's Office. Records may be
obtained directly from the Federal Records Center, but you will need to obtain certain archiving
information from the Clerk's Office prior to requesting the information. Click here for the Archived
records retrieval form.
Do It Yourself on cases filed in 1998 or later - print copies off the public terminal for 10 cents a page.
Do it Yourself on cases older than 1998 - public copy machine for 25 cents a page.
Clerk’s Office Staff can provide a search. - See fee schedule for current fee and for copies currently 50 cents per page.