If you are overwhelmed and drowning in debt you cannot pay, harassed by creditors and facing a life of financial prison, you may consider bankruptcy as a viable alternative. Americans do not end up in trouble financially simply from overspending alone. There are many reasons that an individual or family may deal with crippling debt. Bankruptcy offers a fresh start to a positive financial future and may work for you if you are dealing with any of these situations.

1. Medical debt

Despite having access to health care, millions of Americans file for bankruptcy each year because they have medical bills they cannot pay. These bills may come from an unplanned illness, a workplace accident or just regular medical care. Even with an emergency fund in place, you may find it impossible to prepare for the excessive costs associated with some treatments.

2. Job loss

In the world of employment, you can go from the top of the heap to the bottom in a second, often due to factors outside your control. If your company unexpectedly lays off employees and you lose your job, covering the bills can get tough, and you may fall into debt attempting to do so.

3. Excessive use of credit

Credit cards offer appealing opportunities to buy now and pay later, but unfortunately, the payments and interest may eventually catch up to you. Excessive spending and credit card debt is another common reason that Americans file for bankruptcy each year.

4. Separation or divorce

If there is trouble in paradise, you may face costs you did not even see coming. Maintaining two households, setting your children up for success and paying attorney fees for a divorce can quickly put you in the negative and make it difficult to dig out.

Know your options

If you have debts you cannot pay, don’t resign yourself to a life of harassment and anxiety. You have options when it comes to discharging your debt, and a qualified attorney can explain them to you and help you make the right decision about your future.