Statute of Limitations on Debt in New Jersey

Chloe Meltzer

May 07, 2021

Let debt collectors know they can't mess with Jersey.

Summary: Being sued for an old debt in New Jersey? You don't have to pay when a debt collector is too late. Know how the statute of limitations can help you win your case!

If you are unable to pay a debt and you go into default, then a creditor or debt collector can bring you to court in an attempt to collect. More than one in four New Jersey residents have debt in collections, but what most consumers do not realize is that there is a limit on how long they can legally be sued for a debt.

Debts become time-barred after the statute of limitations has expired. Every state has a different time period on its statute of limitations. In most states, the statute of limitations ranges from four to six years but may go up to as long as 20 years. After the statute of limitations has expired, you can no longer be brought to court for the debt.

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Statute of Limitations in New Jersey

New Jersey Statute of Limitations
on Debt

Debt Type

Deadline in Years

Mortgage

6

Medical

6

Credit Card

6

State Tax

6

Credit Cards

6

Auto Loan

4


Source: Findlaw



In New Jersey, the statute of limitations on debt depends on the type of debt that it is. Mortgage debt, medical debt, credit card debt, and state tax debt all carry a time period of six years. Auto loan debt becomes time-barred after only four years.

This means that if enough time has passed on your debt, and you have not made any payments, then the creditor or debt collector will not be able to sue you for this debt.

What is important to understand is that although you cannot be brought to court for the debt, a debt collector can still pursue you for it. You may not have your wages garnished after a debt is passed the statute of limitations, but your credit report may continue to reflect the debt for seven years.

If you are unsure if your debt is time-barred, then you may request a debt verification letter. You can also ask the debt collector when payment was last made. If it's been longer than the statute of limitations then the debt is considered time-barred.

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act Protects New Jersey Debtors

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, known as the FDCPA, is a set of rules that third-party debt collectors must follow when attempting to collect on a debt. Under the FDCPA debt collectors may not:

  • Harass you
  • Lie in an attempt to have you pay a debt
  • Contact you between the hours of 9 pm and 8 am
  • Threaten you with jail time
  • Lie about your debt in any manner
  • Tell you that you owe more than you do
  • Attempt to force you to pay on a debt after it has passed the statute of limitations

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Responding to Debt Collection Letters

Debt collectors are legally allowed to call you, text you, send you an email, or write letters in the mail. If you would like this contact to stop, then you must send a written request through the mail. They will legally be required to end contact with you. It is recommended to send this by certified mail to get a notification that it was received. This can be used in court as a receipt should they continue to contact you.

If you are being pursued for a debt and you believe that the statute of limitations has expired, you should request debt verification. When you request debt verification from the debt collector they must send you proof that the bill is yours. If the bill is not yours, then you will have 30 days to dispute it. If the debt is yours, but past the statute of limitations, you can submit this proof to the court.

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Reducing Your Debt in New Jersey

Although one of your debts may be past the statute of limitations, you may have other debts as well. It can feel overwhelming to examine your debt, but you may be able to turn around your entire debt situation if you do. There are various debt payoff strategies that you can choose from. Consider one of the following options.

Consolidating Your Debt

Combining your debt into one manageable payment can make it easier to pay off your debts. This essentially means you will be able to pay off all of your existing debts and turn them into one single payment. This may help to reduce your interest and make it easier to pay it off sooner.

If you do not have a great credit score due to your debts, then you may need a cosigner to qualify for your new debt consolidation loan. Even if you may be able to qualify on your own, a co-signer may be able to help you obtain a lower interest rate. Always be careful with a debt consolidation loan because if you fall behind on your payments it can dramatically affect your credit.

Refinancing Your Debt

Although most people think of refinancing as something that you do with a home, you can also refinance an auto or student loan. Refinancing is simply the practice of replacing your old loan with a new loan. You will also be given a new interest rate and terms. This can help you to reduce your interest rate which may lower your monthly payment.

When it comes to federal student loan debt, there is no statute of limitations. This is why you might consider refinancing your student loans in some situations.

It is good to note that with refinancing you will be restarting your repayment over again. This might give you lower payments, but with a longer term. If you decide to refinance federal student loans, then you will also forfeit the option to participate in repayment or forgiveness programs.

Transferring Your Balance or Filing for Bankruptcy

As a last resort, you can either attempt to transfer your balance to a new credit card or declare bankruptcy. Declaring bankruptcy should only be done in cases where you are struggling with multiple unmanageable debts that are nowhere near the statute of limitations.

Your other option of a balance transfer may offer you a longer time to pay off your debt. This may be able to offer you a 0% introductory APR for anywhere from 12 to 21 months. The problem lies in if you cannot pay your debt once the time period is over. This may simply put you right back where you started.

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