How Long Can You Be Sued for a Debt in Michigan?

by Michael Wolfe ; Updated July 27, 2017

When a Michigander incurs a debt, he is legally obligated to make good on it. According to Michigan law, however, if enough time elapses, then he is no longer legally obligated to pay. This time limit is know as the statute of limitations. After this time has passed, the creditor can no longer attempt to collect on the debt without facing penalties. In Michigan, the statute of limitations for most debts is six years.

Open Account/Written Contract

According to Michigan law, all debts derived from open accounts, such as lines of credit, and written contracts, such as documented loans, can be collected for a maximum of only six years. This statute of limitations applies both to the collection of money and the filing of any civil lawsuit seeking damages for breach of contract. After this period has expired, a creditor cannot bring a lawsuit against the individual or collect on the contract.

Sales Contracts

A sales contract is a special kind of contract related to the sale of a particular good. In many cases, a loan is secured by collateral. For example, when a loan is used to purchase a car or a house, the object being purchased is often used as collateral on the loan. In these types of contracts, in which the money is secured by a purchase, the creditor can seek payment on the debt for only four years.

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While a creditor can only collect on a debt for up to six years, if he sues the debtor and receives a civil judgment ordering the debtor to pay the debt, then he can collect for an additional 10 years. In addition, in some cases, the creditor can apply to have this statute of limitations on the judgment extended. This statute of limitations applies equally to both foreign debts and domestic ones.


It is a common misconception that the period at which the statute of limitations commences is the time at which the debt was taken out. In fact, it is the moment at which the debt was last serviced. So, if an individual stopped paying money owed on a written contract in 2005, the debt could be collected until 2011. If, however, the borrower suddenly made another payment in 2008, the statute of limitations would reset and collections could occur until 2014.

About the Author

Michael Wolfe has been writing and editing since 2005, with a background including both business and creative writing. He has worked as a reporter for a community newspaper in New York City and a federal policy newsletter in Washington, D.C. Wolfe holds a B.A. in art history and is a resident of Brooklyn, N.Y.

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