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How Long Does a Creditor Have to File a Debt Collection Lawsuit?

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Just about every legal claim has a time limit, known as the “statute of limitations.” Whether it’s a civil claim concerning a personal injury matter or a breach of contract, or even criminal liability, the law imposes a time frame within which the claim must be brought. Debt collection is no different. Creditors must bring claims for debt collection within a certain time or those claims will be forfeited, regardless of the amount of the debt or the reason for the debt. Read on to learn about the time limit for debt collection in New York, and call a knowledgeable Poughkeepsie debt relief and bankruptcy lawyer to explore your options for debt relief.

Statute of limitations on debt in NY

The statute of limitations for each type of claim varies by state. In New York, there is a general statute of limitations of six years for most debt-collection lawsuits. The six-year period applies to most forms of consumer debt, such as credit card debt and medical debt. The six-year period begins when the debt repayment becomes due or when the debtor last made a payment, whichever is more recent. If it has been more than six years since your debt repayment became due and since you last made a payment, then your creditor no longer has the legal power to sue you for the money you allegedly owed.

Certain types of debt have a longer statute of limitations. Alimony, maintenance, and spousal support actions have a statute of limitations of up to 20 years. Actions to recover real property or for a mortgage company to redeem a mortgage can be brought for up to 10 years. Some actions, including recovering for a rent overcharge or recovery of personal property, have a shorter statute of limitations.

Creditors often sell off their older debts to debt collectors for pennies on the dollar, even after those claims have expired. Debt collection agencies will buy up a mountain of such debt for cheap, and then send collection letters or file complaints against all of the debtors, hoping that at least some of the debtors will not realize that their debts are too old to be legally actionable. If you have an older debt that might be past the statute of limitations and you are facing action from a debt collector or creditor, talk to a seasoned debt relief attorney. You may be able to get the debt collector to back off by pointing out that their claims are stale, or at least force them to go to court to prove that they have a claim at all. You may be able to get older claims dismissed in court.

If you are struggling with debt in New York, contact the seasoned and effective Hudson Valley bankruptcy lawyers at the Law Office of Taran M. Provost, PLLC for a free consultation on your case at 845-675-3243.

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