You have options besides bankruptcy if you cannot pay your debts. Really the first option is the option of time. It takes time for a creditor to go through the legal process and collect. Maybe right now you can't file bankruptcy. You don't have the income to pay an attorney, or you just don't want to file. You have time. From the time that you receive a lawsuit on a debt collection action to the time a judgment is entered is usually a number of months. You can do some planning in that time before you actually have to file.