Overwhelming debt can happen to people in all sorts of circumstances. Those who are already retired or who live on lower incomes can accumulate debt by simply trying to meet their families’ needs on a day-to-day basis.

Those who experience adverse medical events, such as severe injuries from a car crash or a life-altering medical diagnosis, may have medical bills that exceed their ability to repay them. Executives and other higher-earning professionals might have substantial levels of debt that become problematic when they suddenly lose their job. Farmers and business people might struggle to make ends meet after an economic downturn or a bad season for their particular crop.

Thankfully, there are many different forms of bankruptcy that each offer variable protections for the person filing.

Your circumstances should influence the bankruptcy process

Like the situations that lead to debt, bankruptcy is not a one-size-fits-all process. Instead, there are multiple different types of bankruptcy available both to individuals and businesses.

Chapter 11 bankruptcy, for example, allows a business to restructure its debts and potentially continue operations while working toward a discharge. Chapter 7 bankruptcy allows people with low income and limited assets to quickly and aggressively discharge their unsecured debts. Chapter 13 bankruptcy can allow the filer a chance to repay some of their debts while preserving their assets and earning a higher-than-average income.

People also have the option of filing as individuals or jointly with a spouse. Depending on your family’s unique circumstances, you may find that one specific form of bankruptcy works better for you than the others.

Good advice can help you personalize the bankruptcy process

One of the biggest mistakes that people make when filing bankruptcy is trying to do so pro se or on their own behalf. A lack of experience with bankruptcy proceedings and the stress of daily life can impact how well an individual manages their own bankruptcy.

Getting help early on when you realize that your debt levels are not sustainable can help you get the protection that you need to move on and rebuild financially. From choosing the form of bankruptcy that best suits your needs and circumstances to managing all of the paperwork and meetings involved, a lawyer can make bankruptcy much more simple and personalized for your needs.