I am considering bankruptcy because I already know that very very soon I won't be able to pay my credit cards. However, I have never been late on any payment, including mortgage or condo fees. As my income has dropped, I've been trying to at least pay the minimum balances. Soon, I will not be able to do that either. Before I 'qualify' do I need to be behind on payments and have stacks of letters from my creditors?
It would have been helpful if you had added this question to your other post that tells us you've been living in Europe for the last 7 years.
While you don't "need" to default on anything if you are going to file bankruptcy I fail to see the upside to throwing good money after bad if you are going to file bankruptcy anyway (since your credit rating gets trashed), especially if you qualify for Chapter 7 where all your debts get discharged.
Were I in your place and were going to file, I would quit paying on the credit cards and the condo (let it go to foreclosure) and start piling up cash that you'll need for paying a bankruptcy lawyer and travelling to the US if you have to.