What is the statute of limitations on Colorado debt?
Are aggressive debt collectors keeping you up at night? Did you know they might not have a right to pursue you at all? Depending on the age of the debt in question, they may be too late.
But how can you tell?
Read on to learn what a statute of limitations on debt is, how long it lasts in Colorado, and—as important—how you can solve your debt challenges.
What is a statute of limitations?
A statute of limitations on debt is the maximum time legal proceedings can be initiated.
After this point, claims or legal action are typically prohibited. So after this time is up, a case cannot be brought before a court.
Even after the statute of limitations expires, debt collectors may still come knocking. But they can't take you to court.
Why does a time limit exist in the first place?
There are two main reasons:
- For fairness: It can be challenging to recall exact details if too much time has passed, making it difficult for defendants to defend against old allegations of debt. The limit ensures people don’t have the threat of litigation hanging over them forever.
- To Encourage prompt claims: Time limits encourage plaintiffs to initiate legal action in a timely manner. This raises the likelihood that memories are still sharp and evidence still fresh.
What is the statute of limitations on Colorado debt?
The statute of limitations on debt in Colorado depends on the circumstances.
Usually, the clock starts from the final account activity or the official date the account is considered past due.
- Three years: Whether oral or written, debts that don’t meet the on-account criteria have a three-year statute of limitations. In this context, “on-account” means sufficiently documented.
- Four years: Auto loan debts in Colorado can only be pursued in court for up to four years.
- Six years: On-account debts have a statute of limitations of six years. This group typically includes credit card debts, outstanding medical bills, and mortgages.
- Twenty years: Although less common, debts backed by a judgment from a District Court have a 20-year statute of limitations.
It’s very important to be aware that the clock can restart. For example, imagine you owe hundreds of dollars on a credit card. The balance is three years old, and you haven’t used or made a payment during that time.
If you were to make even a tiny $50 payment to the balance, you risk restarting the statute of limitations. This is true even you make that payment a few days before the statute expires.
What debt relief options do you have?
While it’s stressful, debt isn’t the end of the road. Thankfully, in Colorado, you have numerous options at your disposal.
First, this isn’t for everyone. But if you are disciplined and self-motivated, consider giving the DIY approach a try.
Luckily, you don’t have to come up with a DIY out of thin air. There are plenty of effective programs you can obtain for free online.
Want somewhere to start? Try the debt snowball method.
Debt settlement companies
Debt settlement companies are excellent options for individuals who want white-glove service. These companies connect you with a debt settlement specialist and even negotiate directly with creditors.
Not only do they work with your creditors on your behalf, but they manage the repayment process.
In other words, they’re with you every step of the way.
Do you have numerous high interest rate debts? Then, debt consolidation may be a suitable option.
With debt consolidation, you take out a new loan and use the proceeds to pay off existing debts. You’re left with a single monthly payment, ideally at a lower interest rate.
Credit counseling agencies
While DIY may work for some people, most debtors would prefer expert help. If that sounds like you, consider a credit counseling agency.
These typically non-profit organizations offer a variety of services free of charge.
- Budget counseling: First, they’ll perform a thorough review of your finances, assessing your income, expenses, and debts. Next, they’ll help you develop a personalized budget to tackle your debt.
- Debt management plans (DMPs): Under a DMP, the debtor pays the credit counseling agency a single monthly amount. Then, the agency takes on the task of distributing the debt payments to the various creditors.
- Financial education: Credit counseling agencies will typically offer various free educational materials around debt management.
- Bankruptcy counseling: These agencies can even help debtors considering bankruptcy. In the United States, counseling from a government-approved organization is mandatory before you can declare bankruptcy.
- Credit report reviews: Agencies can help debtors better understand how their credit score was determined and ways they can improve it.
- Referrals: Credit counseling agencies may not have all the answers, but they’ll likely know who does.
In extreme situations, bankruptcy may be the best remaining option. This should only be considered after all other avenues have been exhausted.
If you’re considering bankruptcy, you’re strongly encouraged to speak to a professional, like an attorney specializing in consumer debt.
Whatever you do, don’t stall. Overwhelming debt causes stress and can make you feel hopeless. Taking action will set you on the right track and empower you.
First, determine what the statute of limitations of Colorado debt means for you. Has the time passed? Can a collector still bring you to court?
Next, devise a plan to tackle your debt. Whether you pursue the DIY approach or consult a specialist, taking action as soon as possible is important.
After all, the sooner you clear the debt, the sooner you'll sleep soundly.