Florida’s Statute of Limitations for Credit Card Debt

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If you live in Florida and are dealing with credit card debt, one of the most important things to understand is exactly how long your creditors have to sue you for your debt. In Florida, as in most states, there’s a statute of limitations (SOL) that applies to credit card debt. Once this time period has expired, creditors have a limited number of options to collect your debt, which is why this issue is so important. Here is some key information about the statute of limitations credit card debt in Florida that everyone who is living with debt should understand.

Why is there a Statute of Limitations?

Before we discuss how long Florida creditors have to pursue you for credit card debt, it’s important to understand why a statute of limitations exists in the first place. While it seems like the SOL is a form of consumer protection, the actual reason for this time limit has to do with how court cases work.

The more time that passes after an incident, the harder it is to prove, and this includes debt. Proving a court case depends on having fresh evidence, so the longer someone waits to bring a case to court, the harder it is to prove. This idea applies a little more to the SOL for crimes, but the basic concept can still be used for credit card debt. For instance, if a debt is very old, it may be difficult to prove exactly which person caused the debt. Generally, the court system prefers lawsuits to happen sooner rather than later.

What is the SOL in Florida for Credit Card Debt?

The Florida Statutes determines how long creditors can sue you for credit card debt. Any debt that is based on a written instrument has a statute of limitations of five years. Credit cards, which are a type of revolving account, have a statute of limitations of four years.

If you live in Florida and have old credit card debt, the credit card company will have four years to sue you for this debt in most cases. There are some exceptions to this rule, however, that you should be sure to understand so that you can effectively deal with your debt.

When Does the SOL Start?

The date that the statute of limitations for credit card debt in Florida starts is one of the most important factors you should understand if you want to clear your debt. In general, the SOL for your debt will start the last time there was any activity on your credit card. This can mean the last time you used your card for a charge or credit, or the last time that you made a payment.

Because the statute of limitations is based on card activity, this basically means that the time limit can restart anytime that you use your credit card. Fortunately, the SOL can also be suspended in certain circumstances. If you are two years into the SOL and make a payment towards your debt, the statute of limitations will suspend for a period of time. The Florida SOL will also be suspended any time that you leave the state and will restart when you return.

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The SOL and Civil Judgments

A common misconception about debt in Florida is that you’ll be safe from collectors after the statute of limitations has expired. Unfortunately, this is only true if your creditor fails to file a lawsuit before the expiration date. Assuming that a lawsuit is filed within the SOL, you could end up dealing with your debt for years to come, especially if the case is filed in civil court.

Under Florida law, a civil judgment applies for 20 years after the judgment has been rendered. This means that after the end of a civil case, your creditor could have two decades to take action based on the ruling in the case. Since this is an incredibly long time to have credit card debt hanging over your head, it’s important to deal with your outstanding debt sooner rather than later.

Florida’s Statute of Limitations for Credit Card Debt

How to Pay Off Credit Card Debt

Now that you know about the statute of limitations credit card debt in Florida, it’s a good idea to learn a few solutions for getting rid of your credit card debt for good. Luckily, getting out from under credit card debt isn’t as difficult as you might imagine, especially if you follow a few useful tips:

  • Focus on one credit card at a time.
  • Consolidate debts onto a single, lower interest credit card.
  • Consider debt settlement options.

The first, and most useful, solution for solving your debt problem is to focus your efforts on one card at a time. While you should always pay the minimum on all your cards, you can restrict bigger payments to a single card. Usually, you would target the card with the highest interest rate since it can take the longest to pay off, although you could also focus on the card with the lowest balance if you want to work your way up.

Transferring your balance from a high-interest card to a low-interest card is another option you could choose to pay off your debt. This process is known as debt consolidation, and for many people, it means paying off their debt much more rapidly. You should only choose this option, however, if you’ll be able to pay off your debt completely while the low interest rate is in place. If you’re unable to do this, your interest rate could climb and you may end up owing more.

If you owe more than $1,000 on your credit card, then you may be able to apply for a debt settlement. With a settlement, your credit card company agrees to take a lower amount than what you actually owe, which is beneficial for people with large debts. Before you ask for a settlement, make sure that you have the money on hand to pay the debt immediately, which your creditor will require.

Anyone looking for a solution to pay off credit card debt can get help from Solvable. We are dedicated to helping people clear their debt so they can move on with their lives. You can read our debt relief company reviews so you can find out which company fits your needs, or check out our library of research articles so that you can learn more about how to resolve credit card debt.

 

Jill writes for Solvable covering financial freedom through debt resolution.

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