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Have you been tossing and turning at night? Have you been putting off meeting with a bankruptcy attorney because you heard from your aunt that you will lose your house and car? The good news: It is possible that you can keep your house and some other assets when you file for bankruptcy. Here is a look at top bankruptcy myths.

Myth 1: There is only one way to do bankruptcy

Many individuals choose either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Each comes with significant differences that probably account for some of the myths. (Some people may choose Chapter 11, but normally this is used by large companies.)

In short, you have options and do not have to force your “square” situation into a round hole. For more on Chapter 7 and Chapter 13, check out myth 3.

Myth 2: You must try to pay off your debts before exploring bankruptcy

It is better to begin exploring the prospect of filing bankruptcy as early as possible, for example, before you fall behind in mortgage payments. If you are drowning in a huge mountain of debt that gobbles up more than half of your income and do not envision the situation getting better, bankruptcy is likely a viable and smart option.

Myth 3: You will become homeless and ruined for life

Losing your home, your car and other valuable assets is not fun to think about. However, such a reason should not prevent you from filing for bankruptcy. In Chapter 7, you probably won’t have to give up much, especially if you need your items for daily living. Medical debt and credit card debt should go away, and you start over.

In Chapter 13, you can keep everything and even stop foreclosure proceedings. You restructure your debt, make regular payments and do not take on new debt. However, not all debt can disappear. Student loans and income tax liability (with very few exceptions) remain, as do court-ordered payments such as child support and personal injury restitution.

Above all, you should not be ruined forever. It is true that life after bankruptcy can be challenging, at least for a few months or years, but there are steps you can take. Approaches such as getting a secured credit card get you started on the right path, and without the pressure of debts you should be better positioned to rebuild your credit score.

Tax season is a time when many people review their finances and wonder if bankruptcy is a viable option. Getting in touch with an attorney can help clarify your situation.