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Statute of Limitations on Debt in Texas

Updated on July 10, 2010

Statute of Limitations on Debt in Texas

A statute of limitations is a law that restricts the period of time during which someone may file a claim against someone else. Once that time, called a prescriptive period, expires, the right to file a claim in that matter expires, as well. In Texas, debt collecting is strictly constrained by statutes of limitation for various types of debt. If a creditor fails to file a lawsuit against you during the applicable prescriptive period, that creditor can never pursue litigation against you and you are no longer liable for the entire debt.

The statute of limitations on debt in Texas varies depending on the type of outstanding debt you owe, which means each of your creditors may have more or less time to seek judgment against you for each of your individual debts.

Oral Contracts

Statute of Limitations: 4 Years

Applicable Statute: Tex. Civ. Code §16.004

An oral contract encompasses any debt that arises from a verbal agreement, for which there is no written document defining the arrangement. Any oral debt -- including debts that could otherwise be classified as something else under Texas law -- is subject to a statute of limitations of four years, which begins to run on the day you first become delinquent. Payments you make towards debt arising from an oral contract resets the prescriptive period, and the statute of limitations again starts at four years.

Written Contracts

Statute of Limitations: 4 Years

Applicable Statute: Tex. Civ. Code §16.004

A written contract is one where the agreement between the debtor and the creditor is in writing and signed by both parties. The debt is a specified amount, typically with interest added, and the agreement includes regularly scheduled payments for a specific period of time. Personal loans, equity loans and educational loans are examples of written contracts. The statute of limitations on debt arising from a written contract in Texas is four years, beginning on the date on which you first miss a payment. Every payment you make towards the debt after first becoming delinquent resets the statute of limitations.

Open-Ended Accounts

Statute of Limitations: 4 Years

Applicable Statute: Tex. Civ. Code §16.004

An open-ended account is any line of revolving credit that allows you to borrow against available credit as needed, like credit cards, charge cards and store cards. As you pay back previous charges, your total balance increases; likewise, as you borrow more, your balance decreases. The statute of limitations on revolving debt in Texas is four years, beginning on the date on which you first become delinquent. Because the nature of open-ended accounts allows for multiple charges at differing times, the prescriptive period for these debts are slightly different: the statute of limitations begins to run individually on each separate charge you make, which means it is entirely possible for the statute of limitations to expire on some charges and not others.

Additional Information

The statute of limitations on debt in Texas only applies to debt collections, not credit-reporting practices. Creditors can still report your delinquent or discharged debts to credit bureaus even after the statute of limitations expires. There is no statute of limitations for credit reporting practices in Texas, so creditors can report your delinquent debts at any time after you stop paying.


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      6 years ago

      I have been working for my employer in Texas for 6 months now and he always has an excuse of why he cant pay me on payday! He now owes me $10,000 I am wondering if there is a legal document/form of some sort that he can sign agreeing that he owes it and a time period it will be payed by... I was wondering if a promissory note is what I am looking for ... but its not a loan is money my employer owes me for my labor


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