A typical American carries an average debt of $52,940, which includes student loans, credit card debt, mortgages and auto loans among others. And the residents of Massachusetts are on par with other states concerning debt. However, they have relatively high incomes to offset what they owe.
For example, a typical resident of the Bay State carries a $6,213 credit card balance, compared to the national average of $6,194.
That said there are consequences for carrying debts beyond the permitted period. And it may result in harassment by debt collection agencies. For that reason, it would be best to understand the Massachusetts statute of limitations on debt of all kinds.
Read More: Do I Pay Debt Sold to a Collection Agency?
How Long Can A Debt Be Collected In Massachusetts?
The MA statute of limitations on debt depends on the kind of agreement you are part of and the debt you owe. Therefore, it varies.
If your creditors do not sue you to recover their debt within the set period, you may end up free and clear. And you have a legal leg to stand on if they continue to harass you afterward.
1. The Statute Of Limitations on Credit Card Debt
Generally, the statute of limitations on credit card debt in Massachusetts is six years. For debt collection, the clock begins to tick starting on the statement date on the account.
So, if your creditors don’t follow up with you within the allotted time, you could theoretically get away with the huge credit card balances you have been carrying for years. However, your credit history is likely to suffer serious damage. In addition, your delinquent behavior could stay on your report for as long as seven years. But bankruptcies will reflect in your history for up to a decade.
Read More: Main Reasons People Get in Credit Card Debt
2. The Statute Of Limitations on Fraud
The statute of limitations on fraud is three years in Massachusetts. If the injured parties do not institute legal proceedings against you during this period, you may get away with it.
3. The Statute Of Limitations on Contracts
Once you breach an implied or general contract, the statute of limitations becomes active. Generally, you may be pursued legally at any time during the set six-year period. However, if the contract is under a seal, you will not have peace for 20 years, during which time you could be sued.
Where contracts for the sale of goods are involved, the statute of limitations in Massachusetts is four years. And bank-issued debt notes have a 20-year statute of limitations.
Read More: 6 Components of a Contract
4. The Statute Of Limitations on Medical Issues
The Massachusetts statute of limitations on medical debt is six years. And that is a long time to be pursued by a determined collection agency. Considering that the majority of Americans declare bankruptcy due to medical debt, it would be better for you to talk to your creditors and agree on a repayment plan.
However, if medical malpractice occurs, there is a three-year limit in most cases, but it can extend to a maximum seven-year limit. The period begins when the plaintiff learns of the malpractice or when it occurs. So, if you are a medical practitioner, you can only afford to sigh in relief if the seven-year period is over and no lawsuit has been instituted against you.
Read More: How to Report a Doctor's Negligence
5. Court Judgments
Court judgment enforcements have a very long statute of limitations. Once your appeals are exhausted, on the date the final judgment is entered against you, the clock begins to tick. And it will continue to do so for 20 years, during which time you can be forced to be accountable for your actions.
In this case, it is safe to assume that an out-of-court settlement may be a much better option.
6. Child Support
You can run as much as you want and hide anywhere in the world, but if you owe child support in the Bay State, you must repay the debt.
There is no statute of limitations on child support enforcement. Therefore, if you don’t pay it now, you will likely pay it in the future. And there will be someone to enforce the law to ensure you pay the child support in arrears.
Instead of risking harassment by debt collectors, it would be wise to find ways of paying what you owe other parties. And if you feel you have a good reason not to pay, consider going to court to absolve yourself of the financial responsibilities. That way, you can enjoy your life without worrying about possible lawsuits in the future.
- Business Insider: The average American debt by type, age, and state
- CNBC: Alaskans carry the highest credit card balance—here’s the average credit card balance in every state
- The Jacobs Law: COMMON MASSACHUSETTS STATUTES OF LIMITATIONS
- CNBC: How long does negative information stay on your credit report?
- Find Law: Massachusetts Statutes of Limitations
- NCLC.Org: 9.1.1 The Problem of Medical Debt
- Support Collectors: Massachussets Child Support Enforcement Resource Center
I hold a BS in Computer Science and have been a freelance writer since 2011. When I am not writing, I enjoy reading, watching cooking and lifestyle shows, and fantasizing about world travels.