We are humans and we make hard decisions and mistakes on a regular basis, especially when it comes to money. We forget to make payments or spend too much on a vacation; we use our credit cards without paying them off; we take out huge loans for things we want and need.

All these things can create debt. In some cases, these decisions or oversights disrupt our lives for several months as we work to correct the issue and get back on track. In other cases, they spiral out of control and become unmanageable. If you are in the former situation, you may figure out a way to get out of that debt on your own or with a few financial tips. If you are in the latter group, repaying your debt may be much more complicated.

People buried in debt who want to repay it rather than have it discharged may be eligible to pursue Chapter 13 bankruptcy. This option allows a person to reorganize and prioritize debts in a way that makes it easier to pay off either partially or completely over a period of time.

Those who file for Chapter 13 relief develop a repayment schedule with the help of credit counseling and then present the plan to the creditors involved. The exchange is overseen and managed by an appointed trustee. If the plan is approved, you will begin making the agreed-upon payments for three to five years.

While a Chapter 13 bankruptcy will affect your credit history, it may not be as damaging as Chapter 7. Future lenders will see that debts were repaid rather than discharged, which may make you a more favorable candidate for a loan.

Not every person is eligible for Chapter 13 bankruptcy and it may not be the best option for people in certain situations. For example, if you don’t have a job, you may not be able to keep up with a repayment plan anyway and other options should be explored.

If you have questions or concerns about repaying debt through Chapter 13 or other methods, it can be best to discuss them with an attorney familiar with the legal and financial aspects of bankruptcy and other forms of debt relief.