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Statute Of Limitations For Debts

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The statute of limitations (SOL) for a delinquent debt is the time limit for the creditor to file a lawsuit. This period starts when the debtor becomes delinquent. The fact that the SOL has "run" (expired) on a particular debt will not necessarily prevent a lawsuit from being filed (via a Summons And Complaint), but the defendant can have the suit dismissed on this basis.

The Statute Of Limitations only covers lawsuits, and SOL expiration does not affect other types of collection action or reporting of the account to credit bureaus. The creditor or collection agency may theoretically continue with letters and telephone calls forever (although third-party collectors are subject to the "cease and desist" provision of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.) However, they will generally put much less effort into collecting "Out-Of-Statute" debts, and may give up easily. Out-Of-Statute debts can still be reported to credit bureaus for the time limits specified in the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

Credit cards are generally considered Open Accounts. Auto loans and other installment agreements are Written Contracts. If there has already been a lawsuit resulting in a judgment, that judgment has a separate Statute Of Limitations, which you can find here.

(The numbers on this chart indicate years.)

State
Oral
Agreements
Written
Contracts
Promissory
Notes
Open
Accounts
Alabama
6
6
6
3
Alaska
6
6
6
6
Arizona
3
6
5
3
Arkansas
3
5
6
3
California
2
4
4
4
Colorado
6
6
6
6
Connecticut
3
6
6
6
Delaware
3
3
6
3
D.C.
3
3
3
3
Florida
4
5
5
4
Georgia
4
6
6
4
Hawaii
6
6
6
6
Idaho
4
5
10
4
Illinois
5
10
6
5
Indiana
6
10
10
6
Iowa
5
10
5
5
Kansas
3
5
5
3
Kentucky
5
15
15
5
Louisiana
10
10
10
3
Maine
6
6
6
6
Maryland
3
3
6
3
Massachusetts
6
6
6
6
Michigan
6
6
6
6
Minnesota
6
6
6
6
Mississippi
3
3
3
3
Missouri
5
10
10
5
Montana
5
8
8
5
Nebraska
4
5
6
4
Nevada
4
6
3
4
New Hampshire
3
3
6
3
New Jersey
6
6
6
6
New Mexico
4
6
6
4
New York
6
6
6
6
North Carolina
3
3
5
3
North Dakota
6
6
6
6
Ohio
6
15
15
?
Oklahoma
3
5
5
3
Oregon
6
6
6
6
Pennsylvania
4
6
4
6
Rhode Island
15
15
10
10
South Carolina
10
10
3
3
South Dakota
6
6
6
6
Tennessee
6
6
6
6
Texas
4
4
4
4
Utah
4
6
6
4
Vermont
6
6
5
6
Virginia
3
5
6
3
Washington
3
6
6
3
West Virginia
5
10
6
5
Wisconsin
6
6
10
6
Wyoming
8
10
10
8

The information above is believed to be accurate at the time of the creation of this page, and is for reference only. We are not attorneys, and nothing here should be construed as or relied upon as legal advice. If you are concerned about possible lawsuits, you may wish to confirm this with your state's Civil Code and/or a qualified attorney. If you find any discrepancies or errors here, please let us know at: webmaster@cardreport.com.

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