By Christine Dugas, USA TODAY

If you’re thinking about bankruptcy, here are some things to consider: Even if you can’t afford to file for bankruptcy, you can ask a lawyer for some basic information. It’s important to find out about the statute of limitations for the debt you owe. And you should ask if you are judgment-proof.

“If you don’t have any assets that a creditor or collection agency can go after, you may be judgment-proof,” says Gerri Detweiler, personal finance adviser for Credit.com. “That means there is nothing they can get from you if they sue you or take you to court.”

f you’re judgment-proof, you can write to your collection agency and say that you have consulted with an attorney and you have no assets, Detweiler says. Tell them that you can’t afford to repay the debt and to stop contacting you. It’s your right under federal law to have them cease and desist.