Despite bankruptcy’s stigma, filing may provide you the financial relief that you need. You might have concerns about your credit and reputation taking a hit if you do so. But these things can be easier to restore than your finances, if your debt keeps piling up.

Yet debt alone might not be enough reason for you to file bankruptcy. Your decision to file may depend on the debt’s severity, as well as the potential ease of its repayment. For the leading causes of debt, keep these tips in mind when figuring out whether to file.

Medical debt

Over 67% of bankruptcies in the United States stem from medical bills. These bills can accumulate if your insurance doesn’t cover the full cost, or you can’t pay for them out of pocket. Travel costs during medical crises can increase this total, too. Keep in mind, though, that only Chapter 7 bankruptcy will erase your medical debt. Whereas Chapter 13 will reduce it and allow you to create a plan to pay your remaining debt.

Divorce debt

You may end up receiving an unfair divorce settlement. Or you may have to pay significant legal fees over a lengthy and contentious process. In these cases, filing for bankruptcy may make more sense than trying to handle your debts on your own. Filing will not discharge you from paying any support that you’re ordered to. But bankruptcy can reduce or discharge your obligation to attorney fees. And Chapter 13 could also discharge marital debts that you’re responsible for.

Credit card debt

Credit card debt can be easier to repay than medical or divorce debts. Yet you might have endured a period of joblessness and had to put necessities on credit cards to make ends meet. In this case, you could have reason for trying to get the debt discharged or put on a payment plan. But your credit spending may have financed luxury purchases or lavish trips. If so, you might have to repay these expenditures without bankruptcy protection, since they could appear at odds with you filing.

Filing bankruptcy may feel catastrophic. But it can act as a life preserver, keeping you afloat when money is an issue. Consulting with a bankruptcy lawyer can help you determine whether filing is right for your circumstances.