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How does the statute of limitations affect debts?

When you're in debt, it's one of the worst feelings in the world. You know you have to pay the money you've borrowed back, but depending on the situation, that might be a difficult task.

One thing you should know is that every state has a statute of limitations on how long a party can wait to collect a debt. For example, if you are loaned $1,000 and the company forgets to bill you for a significant number of years, it may no longer be able to collect that money from you legally.

The statute of limitations limits when creditors can pursue legal action against you. For instance, credit card debts must be pursued within five years for a company to be able to collect the debt. If you make a payment on the debt at any time, then the five-year period resets, giving the lender more time to file legal action against you.

Medical bills are slightly different. Medical providers have only 18 months to collect any past-due debts created before 1985. If the debt is from April 1985 onward, the statute of limitations extends to two years. If you choose to enter into a payment agreement, then the two-year period extends and resets each time you pay a partial payment on the debt.

All debts that result in a court judgment against you may be pursued for up to 10 years. The courts have the right to seek the funds through garnishing your wages or your bank account. If someone tries to collect from you after this time period, you can seek to have the debt dismissed and ask them to stop contacting you.

Source: Pocket Sense, "The Statute of Limitations on Arkansas Debt," Ciaran John, accessed Dec. 28, 2017

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