There is a lot of gray area when it comes to bankruptcy and how it will impact your life. It is imperative to separate fact from fiction so that you make the best decisions based on your personal situation.

Below are several bankruptcy myths that can make the process more difficult than it has to be:

— Everybody who files for bankruptcy is irresponsible. Even if you are faced with this decision, it does not mean you are irresponsible. For example, you may find yourself in this position because of mounting medical bills or a job loss.

— Bankruptcy will immediately solve all your financial problems. There is no denying the benefits, such as the ability to discharge some debt, but it won’t make everything instantly better. For example, a Chapter 13 filing means you will repay some or all of your debt over a period of three to five years.

— Your credit score will be ruined forever. There is no denying that a bankruptcy filing will take a toll on your credit. However, this will not last forever. As long as you fix your past mistakes, you can begin to rebuild your score in the years to come.

If you believe these bankruptcy myths to be true, it will be more difficult to remain focused and make the best decisions. When you focus on the facts and when you combine these with your personal situation, you are in better position to use bankruptcy to your advantage. Bankruptcy is powerful, and if you harness this power, it can improve your life in many ways.

Source: U.S. News & World Report, “5 Bankruptcy Myths Debunked,” accessed Dec. 07, 2015