What to do if I received a letter today from a collection agency stating the my wages will be garnished for a debt from 11 years ago?

Can this be done? I have only just returned to work (for minimum wage) after being unemployed for over 2 years. I only average between 12-18 hours a week.

Asked on January 10, 2013 under Bankruptcy Law, Ohio


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

As long as the creditor obtained a valid judgment within the legaly prescribed timeframe, then it can enforce the judgment so long as the judgement has not yet expired; judgements typically are good anywhere from between 6-20 years depending on the state (you can use google to find out your specific state law on this). However, if no valid judgement was obtained by now, then it is probably to late for your creditor to do so. As a general rule, a claim for a debt can only be made for between 3-10 years on an outstanding debt. So if there is no judgement currently in force, then your creditor cannot take legal action against you (although technically you still owe the money). Therefore, you need to: ask for a copy of the judgment to make sure one really exisits and, if it does, see if it has already expired.

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