A reader's fiance thinks he's found a loophole, and he might be right.
Question: My fiance and I are getting married next summer. Like you’ve always suggested to engaged couples, we sat down and had an honest talk about our finances.
In college, I was more reckless, and I ran up $2,000 on a credit card I never paid. I actually forgot about it until my fiance and I talked. He says I shouldn’t pay it at all!
He says there’s a “statute of limitations” on debt just like there is for some crimes — six years. He says it’s simple: Don’t pay and the debt goes away! I love him very much, but I’m not going to take his word on ANY of this. What do you say, Howard?
— Patricia in Rhode Island
Howard Dvorkin CPA answers…
Your fiance is right about the concept, way off on the years, and very wrong about it being “simple.”
There’s no single statute of limitation on debt. There are 50 of them — one for each state, and they’re all very different. That’s only the beginning of the complexity, which is why I made this short video to explain it…
To learn more about this topic, check out Debt.com’s special report, How Long Can Debt Collectors Chase Me? — which includes an interactive map that lets you check out each state’s rules. The last paragraph is one of the most important: Just because the statute of limitations frees you from any legal action, it doesn’t free you from debt collectors still coming after you.
Those collectors will still try to wear you down until you pay something. That’s legal, but harassment is not. What constitutes harassment? Check out our special section, Collector Harassment Basics.
As with any complex topic that carries expensive consequences, I suggest you consult one of Debt.com’s certified credit counselors at 1-800-810-0989. They can walk you through the details and even suggest other novel and legal ways to get out of debt.
Have a debt question?
Email your question to firstname.lastname@example.org and Howard Dvorkin will review it. Dvorkin is a CPA, chairman of Debt.com, and author of two personal finance books, Credit Hell: How to Dig Yourself Out of Debt and Power Up: Taking Charge of Your Financial Destiny.