Everyone is responsible for paying a lawfully acquired debt, regardless of its source. There are, however certain means by which a debt can be lawfully avoided, without filing for bankruptcy protection
1. If a debt is more than four years old, under California law, it is outside of the statute of limitations
, and cannot be collected, as long as the debtor pleads the statute of limitations defense in the event that debtor is sued by the creditor or a debt collector.
With a credit card debt, the four years generally begins with the date when the first payment became due and payable (the statement due date), and was subsequently not paid by the debtor/cardholder.
2. If a person age 65 or older has no assets
(e.g., no nonretirement bank accounts; no stocks/bonds investment securities; no valuable collectibles/artwork/etc.; a home with less than $175,000 in equity above loan value), and all of the person's income is from Social Security, Veterans Administration, or a private retirement pension
-- then the person is "judgment proof
." This means that even if the person is sued, there is no way to collect, because the person has no property from which the debt can be lawfully paid.
Those are the only two possibilities. Otherwise, if you want to get rid of the credit card debt, then filing for bankruptcy is the means of doing so.
Hope this helps.