Chapter 13 bankruptcy restructures your debt in a manageable way that helps you pay off what you owe over an agreed upon time—spanning years, generally. This is an excellent tool to get yourself out of a grim financial situation because it can cut down on your stress and provide a clear path to reducing or eliminating your debt.

You might think it is a last resort or a fail state. The thought that declaring bankruptcy implies you are a loser is the reason why many people continue to spiral in situations where their debt grows and their opportunities shrink. According to FindLaw’s breakdown of Chapter 13 advantages and disadvantages, you might avoid that spiral.

Affect on your credit

Bankruptcy of any flavor is a mark against your credit and is often the biggest thing that scares people from considering it. You lose your credit cards, but may apply for new lines of credit as soon as 1-3 years. It can severely hamper your options to mortgage a house for years, though there are options from firms that specialize in so-called “bad risk” clients. This is a disingenuous term though, since you are taking smart steps toward reframing your future.

Affect on your timeline

Debt restructuring can help, but may test your patience. You may find yourself missing some disposable income as you use it for your repayment plan over the next several years. During this time frame, applying for other forms of bankruptcy is off the table unless you prove yourself deserving of it through good behavior with your current repayments.

Bankruptcy is not a fail state or an end result. It is you, with help, overcoming a difficult time in your life. Knowing your options is the best way to conquer it.