A surprising number of Americans face unexpected financial hardship at some point in their lives. Whether that hardship is due to the loss of a job or an unexpected illness, struggling to get out of debt can take a huge toll on individuals’ and families’ abilities to enjoy their lives.

Although no one would advocate for just declaring bankruptcy at the first sign of trouble, there’s still no shame in looking for bankruptcy help when other options have fallen through. Read on to find out about a few of the most common signs that it’s time to consider filing for bankruptcy.

Facing Suits from Debt Collectors

When consumers don’t pay their bills, they eventually get turned over to debt collection agencies. These agencies are known for being relentless in their pursuit of the money that they are owed so if their phone calls and letters don’t elicit a response, they may eventually file a lawsuit. Filing for bankruptcy can offer some protection against these debt collectors since consumers cannot be subjected to collections actions while their bankruptcy petitions are being considered.

Garnished Wages

If a bill collector has already won a lawsuit against a consumer, the consumer might wind up having his or her wages garnished. This can only be done if the creditor is able to obtain a court order and even if a consumer’s wages are already being garnished, filing for bankruptcy will still place an automatic stay on collections. In some cases, this can offer substantial financial relief.

Inability to Pay Bills

When consumers unexpectedly lose their jobs or find themselves in debt due to medical bills or other financial issues, it can leave them in a tough spot. It’s not a good idea to just start taking out credit cards in order to cover everyday living expenses and bills without any income with which to pay them back. While filing for bankruptcy is not intended to provide a solution to debt that has been voluntarily undertaken due to poor spending habits, it is completely appropriate for consumers to consider bankruptcy if they have found themselves unable to pay bills for reasons beyond their control.