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Rhode Island Statute of Limitations on Debt

Melissa Lyken | October 19, 2022

Debt Collection Agencies ^

Summary: Find out how the statute of limitations affects different kinds of debt in Rhode Island. Make the right affirmative defenses with SoloSuit.

Are you being sued for old debt in Rhode Island? You might have closed that chapter of your life and put it behind you. Unfortunately, the creditor or debt collection company did not forget about it. And they've filed a lawsuit against you. There is a high chance that you are wondering what legal process you need to follow to deal with that old creditor. You probably also want to know if they can still sue you for the debt after all these years.

Let's take a closer look at the statute of limitations on debt in Rhode Island to see if you are still legally responsible for paying on your debt.

Learn How the Statute of Limitations Affects Your Debt

Simply put, the statute of limitations refers to the specific period a creditor can file a lawsuit against a debtor. If a creditor seeks to hold a debtor accountable, the creditor will only have the allotted time to sue. If the creditor fails to do so, they will no longer get a court-ordered judgment to collect the debt.

The statute of limitations depends on the type of debt owed, and this amount varies. Every state has different laws for the statute of limitations, which decides how much time creditors have to use the legal system to seek payment from a debtor.

Let's take a look at the prescriptive period for debt in Rhode Island.

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Explore the Different Types of Contracts and Their Statute of Limitations in Rhode Island

Each debt has a different time frame in which a creditor has the right to file a lawsuit. Here are five types of debts and their statute of limitations that apply in Rhode Island:

Oral Debt- 10 Years

An oral debt Is a verbal debt in which the parties involved set the conditions of a debt verbally or without any paperwork. It is harder to prove these debts in court since there is no physical verification. However, these contracts are legal in Rhode Island. For these debts, a creditor has ten years to file a collection suit against the debtor.

Written Debt- 10 Years

A written debt is a signed agreement with all the conditions detailed in the contract. Common written debts include medical bills and personal loans. In Rhode Island, e-signatures are also legal and binding. For this type of debt, a creditor has ten years to file a lawsuit.

Auto Loan- 4 years

A creditor has four years to file a lawsuit on auto loans in Rhode Island.

Promissory Notes- 10 Years

This type of debt is also in a written form but with added provisions like repayment schedules. Promissory notes include real estate loans and educational loans. Promissory notes are a negotiable agreement where the debtor promises to pay some interest (if any) or the debtor promises to pay back debt before the deadline. The creditor has ten years to file a suit against the debtor in case of any dispute.

Open-Ended Accounts- 10 Years

These types of debts are also subjected to a 10-year statute of limitations in Rhode Island. Credit cards and home equity lines of credit are included here. If you have an unpaid credit card bill, it will only remain on your credit report for seven years. However, a creditor can still file a suit against you within ten years of your default date.

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Find Out What Debts Have No Statute of Limitations

There are few types of debts that do not fall under the statute of limitation category; these debts are free of limitations, so they can come back to haunt you anytime. They are as follows:

  • Child support: If you owe back child support, it does not matter what age the child is or if they are now an adult. You can be sued at any time or period for back child support.
  • Federal student loans: There is no statute of limitations for federal student loans. If you owe them, these cannot be cleared even if you file for bankruptcy. For this type of loan, you can be sued at any time.

Prove Your Debt Is a Time-Barred Debt

When a debt surpasses the time frame of the statute of limitation, it is referred to as a time-barred debt. This means the creditor will not be able to get a court-ordered judgment against you if you can prove that the statute of limitations passed on your debt. The creditor will not be able to legally sue if the time allotted lapsed. Though this is the case, this may not stop your creditor or a debt collector from filing a lawsuit. If you are confident that the statute of limitations passed on your debt, you will want to include this in your Answer. Make sure you file a timely response to the lawsuit to avoid receiving default judgment.

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The Impact of the Tolling Period on the Statute of Limitations:

Tolling stops or pauses the time on the statute of limitations. Tolling generally happens when the debtor requests additional time to pay the debt. If you start making the payment during the prescriptive period, this directly affects the duration of the statute of limitations on your debt by restarting the clock. Simply put, whenever a debtor starts paying the debt, the statute of limitation is tolled during that period. Once the debtor stops paying the debt, the statute of limitation restarts, and the clock starts ticking again.

If you made payments at any time during the prescriptive period, the statute of limitations might differ from the date you had in mind. If debt collectors are harassing you to start repaying on your defaulted debt, carefully consider if you are in a place to successfully make all required payments before doing so.

We understand how annoying and frustrating it is to be sued for an old debt. We hope this insight gives you more understanding of the legal process for debts in Rhode Island and helps you figure out if the statute of limitations passed on your debt.

What is SoloSuit?

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How it works: SoloSuit is a step-by-step web-app that asks you all the necessary questions to complete your answer. Upon completion, you can either print the completed forms and mail in the hard copies to the courts or you can pay SoloSuit to file it for you and to have an attorney review the document.

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