Complete Guide to the Statute of Limitations on Debt in GA

Complete Guide to the Statute of Limitations on Debt in GA

by | Aug 25, 2020 | Bankruptcy

The statute of limitations on debt in Georgia is the legal time limit on how long a creditor has to pursue action on a debt. Learn more in this comprehensive overview.


What Is the Statute of Limitations on Debt in GA?


What Is the Statute of Limitations on Debt in GAIf you are a resident of Georgia, you will be happy to know that the state has put in place laws to protect you from overzealous creditors.  One of the laws is called a statute of limitations, and it determines how long a creditor can pursue legal action towards a debt.

The statute of limitations in Georgia deals with time-barred debt. The main reason that Georgia law and federal law has a statute of limitations on debt is to allow creditors enough time to bring their motion against the debtor.

In most instances, the time period for the statute of limitations kicks in from the date of the last payment made by the debtor and will restart any time the debtor makes any payment.

Typically, when a creditor or collection agency fails to get their money, they are supposed to file a motion in court seeking to be granted civil judgment against the debtor. Once you get a judgment issued against you in Georgia, the debt collector will often have the authority to:

  1. Garnish Wages – If you are employed, the debt collector may garnish your wages by up to a quarter.
  2. Garnish Bank Account – Your creditors or debt collection agencies can take what is owed to them from your bank accounts.
  3. Record a Writs of Fieri Facias – The debt collector may record a lien against the property of the debtor. This, too, can also be employed in the seizing of your personal assets.

If you are a debtor needing legal advice on time-barred debt, you should work with a bankruptcy law firm. The Cherney Law Firm offers an initial free consultation and legal advice. They may recommend strategies for dealing with any old debts you are being hounded about by creditors.

Contact us today as we understand the law on consumer rights and are well-equipped to help you address the debt collection attempts.


How to Find the Statute of Limitations on Debt


How to Find the Statute of Limitations on s DebtUnder the state’s statute of limitations, Georgia debt collectors have a limited period to file the lawsuit for non-payment or to collect debts owed.

Debt collection under state law is governed by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, which is the best place to find information on the statute of limitations law. Under the law, most statutes of limitation will be between three and six years, even though some may be longer.

The rules that will be applicable will typically depend on:

  • The type of debt you have
  • State laws, and
  • Whether the state law applies to your debt.

Under Georgia law, a debt collector or creditor needs to file a lawsuit before the legal time limits expire to prevent their claim from becoming time-barred.

Aside from the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, one other place to find information on the statute of limitations in Georgia is to consult with an attorney. Bankruptcy attorneys are usually conversant with consumer rights and consumer law and will provide the advice you need when dealing with creditors and debt collectors.

If you have been sued for an old debt, you should contact a Marietta bankruptcy lawyer at the Cherney Bankruptcy Law Firm. We have experienced and skilled lawyers who will provide information and advice on dealing with time-barred debt.


When Is a Debt Too Old to Collect?


When Is a Debt Too Old to CollectNot paying your debt is usually a civil offense resulting in debt collectors and creditors filing lawsuits against you. Debt is deemed too old to collect when it is not collected before the Georgia statute of limitations expires.

Nonetheless, it is critical to remember that if creditors get a court to rule against you, the statute of limitations will no longer be applicable.

Under Georgia law, there is a six-year statute of limitations and a four-year statute of limitations depending on the type of debt owed.

Under the Georgia Statute of limitations laws set out in the Federal Debt Collection Practices Act, debtors are protected from deceptive, harassing, and intrusive debt collection practices.

These will include anyone from creditors and debt collectors demanding payment for utility bills, credit card companies, and merchants that need payments to be made on unpaid debt.

You can be protected from the action of over-aggressive creditors and debt collection agencies by working with a lawyer.

Our Alpharetta bankruptcy lawyer understands the Georgia Statute and the Fair Debt Collection Practices. Our attorney may help you understand the limitations period and develop a strategy to get your creditors to back off.


Understanding the Statute of Limitations on Debt Collection


Understanding the Statute of Limitations on Debt CollectionThe Georgia statute of limitations refers to the period during which a creditor or debt collector may bring a civil lawsuit against a debtor. As such, if the Georgia statute of limitations is capped at six years, you cannot be held accountable or be sued if the collector tries four years since you made your last payment or defaulted.

The Georgia statute of limitations period runs for a given period as set out below:

  • Breach of oral contract: Four years
  • Breach of written contract, including non-payment of debt: Six years



Do I Have to Be Notified If a Debt Is Time-Barred?


Do I Have to Be Notified If a Debt Is Time BarredThe debt collection agency and your creditors do not have to inform you that your debt is time-barred. Still, once they head to court, they may be able to obtain a judgment that will allow them to recover their property through the seizure of bank accounts or wage garnishments.

If creditors are suing you, they will need to inform you of the statute of limitations. A creditor usually has to inform the debtor of the statute of limitations when they bring a lawsuit for breach of contract.

In Georgia, when a debt collector files a suit against the debtor, they are actually filing a “breach of contract”. The debt collector is the plaintiff, and the debtor is the defendant. The defendant needs to be properly served and aware that there is a breach of contract suit filed against them.

There will be a court date, and when the defendant or debtor appears in court, they will have a chance to prove to the court why they believe they no longer owe that debt. Many times it is because the statute of limitations has run out.

If the defendant cannot make a case to the court why they shouldn’t have to pay the debt, or like in many cases, the defendant does not show up for the court appearance, the plaintiff will win their breach of contract suit against the debtor and the court will award them a judgment. Once the judgment is made, the debt collector can:

Garnish Wages

If the debtor is employed, the debt collector can have the debtor’s wages garnished for up to 25%.

Garnish Bank Account

The debt collector will legally be able to take the full amount of money owed from the debtors checking or savings account.

Record a Writs of Fieri Facias  (Fi FA)

In the state of Georgia, a Fi Fa, or Writs of Fieri Facias, is when the debt collector records a lien against the judgment debtor’s property. It can also be used to seize the debtor’s personal assets. When the debtor goes to sell their property, and there is a Fi Fa lien, the debtor will not be able to transfer ownership to another person until it is paid.

In written contracts in Georgia, you should expect a 6-year statute of limitations. Conversely, an open account which usually implies an oral contract has a four-year limitation.

Before you enter into any agreement to pay off old debt, it is critical to determine whether it is still payable. When you turn to the Cherney Bankruptcy Law Firm, our attorney will help you explore your options to resolve your debt so you can begin picking up the pieces of your life.

Contact us today as we have helped many clients over the years, and we may just do the same for you.

Matthew Cherney


At Cherney Law Firm LLC, clients can expect the highest quality legal representation alongside thoughtful counseling and attention to detail. Mr. Cherney dedicates his time to properly investigating every possible avenue of debt relief for his clients before simply stepping into bankruptcy. Seeking to make each consumer that comes to him for legal aid as comfortable as possible, he keeps his clients in the loop with every step he takes.

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