Minnesota, like all states, limits how long a creditor or collection agency can come after you for a debt you owe. For most debts, the time limit -- also called the statute of limitations -- is six years. The statute begins to run the day you either don't pay or stop paying money you owe.
Timing of Lawsuit
A statute of limitations is a legal rule that prohibits a person or business from suing another party after a specific amount of time has passed. Statutes of limitation differ from one state to the next and depend on the type of debt involved. For example, the statute of limitations for credit card debt may be different from the statute of limitations for a mortgage.
Credit card agreements are typically treated as contracts. As a result, your credit card company cannot sue you for an unpaid balance once six or more years have passed since you violated the agreement by not paying the bill. This is because the statute of limitations for contracts in Minnesota is six years. However, you may "toll," or stop, the statute from running if you acknowledge you owe the debt in writing or make a payment toward the debt. If the statute is tolled, your creditor may be able to sue you outside the six year window.
If you are past due or have defaulted on your student loan, the statute of limitations that applies depends on the type of loan you have. There is no statute of limitations for federal student loans; the government can pursue you for repayment forever. In contrast, private student loans are subject to such statutes. Since student loans are treated as contracts, your lender has six years from the date you breached the loan contract to come after you for the debt in Minnesota.
Minnesota does not have a statute of limitations on the collection of past-due child support. The child support enforcement agency will keep the child support case open until the arrearage is paid in full. It may subject you to collection tactics such as income withholding, wage garnishments, seizure of bank accounts and tax refunds and suspension of your driver's license. If your child's other parent gets a judgment against you for the arrearage, the judgment lasts for 10 years and can be renewed for another 10 years if the debt remains unpaid.
- Office of the Revisor of Statutes: 2014 Minnesota Statutes, Civil Procedure, Chapter 541, Section 541.05
- Protecting Consumer Rights: Minnesota Statute of Limitations on Debt Collection
- Nolo: Is There a Statute of Limitations for Private Student Loans?
- Minnesota Department of Human Services: Understanding Child Support
- Minnesota Judicial Branch: Renewal of Judgments
- Support Collectors: Minnesota Child Support Enforcement Resource Center
- Federal Trade Commission Consumer Information. "Time-Barred Debts." Accessed Dec. 23, 2019.
- Nolo. "Time-Barred Debts: When Creditors and Collectors Cannot Sue You for Unpaid Debts." Accessed Dec. 23, 2019.
- Smith Marco, P.C. Attorneys at Law. "Medical Bills & Debt Collection." Accessed Dec. 23, 2019.
- Federal Student Aid. "Master Promissory Note." Accessed Dec. 23, 2019.
- U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. "Promissory Note." Accessed Dec. 23, 2019.
- TransUnion. "What Is Open-End Credit?" Accessed Dec. 23, 2019.
Based on the West Coast, Mary Jane Freeman has been writing professionally since 1994, specializing in the topics of business and law. Freeman's work has appeared in a variety of publications, including LegalZoom, Essence, Reuters and Chicago Sun-Times. Freeman holds a Master of Science in public policy and management and Juris Doctor. Freeman is self-employed and works as a policy analyst and legal consultant.