This link is to a webpage on the Federal Trade Commission's consumer protection site. It has a great summary of the various options available to consumers who are struggling with managing their debt.
I think it's especially useful in its discussion of the differences between debt management programs (DMP's) and debt negotiation or debt settlement programs. The latter are a great way of paying an outside firm to destroy your credit. These outfits are so unethical that we don't even discuss them here, other than to note their presence and advise members to avoid them at all costs.
* Credit is a wonderful servant, but a terrible master. * Who's the boss --you or your credit? FICO's: EQ 781 - TU 793 - EX 779 (from PSECU) - Done credit hunting; having fun with credit gardening. - EQ 590 on 5/14/2007