Does Debt Go Away Over Time?


In Florida, the statute of limitations for debt is five years. This means your creditor has five years to sue for the balance on your debt. If you have debt that’s older than five years – and neither you nor the creditor took action on this debt – it may be void. This rule only applies to consumer debt, however, so other kinds of debt (such as child support debt) never expire.

When Does the Statute of Limitations for Debt Begin?

Generally, the five-year statute of limitations on debt begins on the date of the first missed payment, or the last time you used the line of credit – whichever is later.

If you stop making payments toward your credit card balance, for example, the date of the next missed payment is the date that the statute of limitations begins. As long as neither you nor your creditor touches that debt, it can dissipate once the statute of limitations expires.

Which Actions Can Reset the Statute of Limitations for Debt?

If you have old debt that’s coming up on five years old, you’ll want to avoid any action that can reset the statute of limitations.

A few things that might do this include the following:

  • Making a payment: Paying off old debt revives it, either partially or wholly, which means you’ll have to wait another five years of uncertainty for it to expire.
  • Adding onto old debt: If your old debt is from a credit card that you haven’t touched in years, making a new charge on that card will renew your debt obligations.
  • Agreeing to pay the debt: Entering into any kind of agreement concerning your old debt can renew the statute of limitations. If you have old debt, it’s better not to acknowledge it.

The Statute of Limitations on Debt Shouldn’t Be Your First Plan

Old debt that is only a few weeks or months shy of five years may be invalidated by the statute of limitations as long as creditors don’t make a last-second effort to sue for collection. That being said, you should never plan on getting rid of debt this way because the necessary circumstances are far too tenuous and unlikely to occur.

Instead, you should strongly consider other options for dealing with insurmountable debt, such as bankruptcy. With bankruptcy, you can discharge or reorganize your debt obligations through a legal process that protects your rights. If you’ve lived in fear of your creditors coming after your old debt, filing for bankruptcy can help you get rid of your debt and protect you from your creditors’ harassment.

Whether you have old debt or more recent financial obligations you can’t fulfill, it’s worth it to consult with a bankruptcy lawyer to have a better understanding of your debt and the options available to you.

Learn more about how experienced bankruptcy lawyers like us at Buchalter & Pelphrey Attorneys At Law can help by contacting us online.

Related Posts
  • Does Tax Debt Ever Go Away? Read More
  • What Is An Offer In Compromise? Read More
  • Can Debt Negotiation Help Me? Read More