A lot of people are hesitant to file for bankruptcy simply because they have heard some of the common myths one too many times. Their concern is not based on the reality of the situation, but on some misleading piece of information repeated by friends, family members, media outlets and other sources.

It is critical that you learn how to sort the myths from the facts when considering bankruptcy. To help you get started, here are four myths to watch out for:

1. Bankruptcy wrecks your credit forever

This is perhaps the No. 1 fear people have. No one wants to ruin their entire financial future. The reality, though, is that you can simply rebuild your credit after bankruptcy. Nothing lasts forever. Every payment that you make on time after the bankruptcy filing can help your case. So can reducing your debt and avoiding outstanding future debt. It does not happen overnight, but bankruptcy is the first step toward fixing your credit, not ruining it.

2. You can discharge everything

This isn’t true. For instance, maybe you want to file and so you decide to spend every last cent you have and rack up extra debt. You max out all of your credit cards in one month, buying things you don’t need. If you do this, you may not be able to discharge all of that debt. The frivolous spending can still be held against you. In some cases, this could constitute fraud.

3. Every financial obligation counts

Many debts do count — credit card debt, business loans, etc. — but you can have debts and financial obligations that do not qualify. For instance, maybe you got divorced and now you have to pay child support. If so, you need to keep making those payments. You can’t get out of them with bankruptcy. Make sure you’re very clear on where you stand before you file.

4. It’s irresponsible to use bankruptcy

Interestingly, there is sometimes an ethical dilemma for people who know that bankruptcy is the best financial option. Is it irresponsible to file? Are they abusing the system?

Not at all. This is the way the system is set up for a reason. Bankruptcy is simply a financial tool. After all, you can’t always control whether or not you end up in debt. What you can do is use every legal tool at your disposal to deal with that debt and focus on your future.

If you do decide to move forward with this process, make sure you know what steps you need to take to file for bankruptcy in New York.