What is the statute of limitations on a debt?

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What is the statute of limitations on a debt?

I have lived in Germany for 9 years and have a contested 2002 debit with the U of MD. It is currently in the hands of the Central Collection Unit of MD. I recent received a Notice of Intent to Offset. I have not responded to this letter.

Asked on July 26, 2011 Alaska

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

It appears that the statute of limitations in Alaska on the time to sue on a debt is three years in situations like this. That is, it appears to be three years for either contracts/agreements or open accounts, which seems as it would be the situation you describe. So it may be that they can no longer enforce this debt. However, that said:

1) The SOL runs from when you defaulted, not when you incurred the debt, so you have to measure from when failed to pay when due.

2) Sometimes, a statute of limitations or SOL can be "tolled" or temporarily held in abeyance, when there is some good cause. It may be the case that being overseas and hence effectively beyond the reach of your creditor for 9 years may well constitute good grounds to toll the statute, since they could not have sought to collect the debt during that time. If that is the case, then they would still be within the SOL and able to take action.

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

In most states in this country, if a judgment has been enetered against someone, the judgment is good for only 10 years. However, at any point before the expiration of 10 years, the judgment creditor can renew the judgement for another 10 years and the time for renewal could allow a judgment to be in existence for possibly 30 years if the judgment is timely and properly renewed.

If you do not have a judgment against you, but solely a claim for money owed where no lawsuit has been filed, there is a good chance that the 2002 debt claimed against you would be time barred by the applicable staute of limitations if a lawsuit was filed against you. In most states, the statute of limitations for breach of a written contract or common counts to sue upon it is 4 years.


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