State judicial officials across the United States and attorneys who specialize in suing people behind in their bills are coming together with debtor advocates to change how cash-strapped courts handle a rising tide of debt-collection lawsuits.

Massachusetts is drafting new court rules, California implemented a revised court system last year, and talks on revisions are underway in Connecticut, Illinois and Michigan. New or revived creditor bar associations in Florida, Indiana, Iowa and Pennsylvania are also planning to initiate changes.