The idea of a statute of limitations is a legal by-product of English common law that holds that there should be a time limit or expiration date on any legal proceeding. English common law, which is the basis for the United States legal system, states that all debts should have an expiration that keeps the original creditor from pursuing the debtor indefinitely. The Michigan state statue that governs limitations on enforcing judgments is Michigan Public Act 236.
The statue of limitations on a civil judgment recorded after 1973 is 10 years. A judgment in Michigan has to be renewed every five years and will not be collectible if not renewed within the five year period. It is also important to remember that the statue stops running during a time payments are made. So if for a period of two years payments were made on the judgment, then those 24 months would not be counted against the 10 year time limit.
Michigan law holds no limitation on the time period for collection on a criminal judgment of restitution. This is mainly because the defendant is generally ordered to serve time for the offense and any attempt at restitution would not begin until the offender is released.
Out of State Judgments
For a judgment granted in another state and transferred to Michigan, the law states that the period to collect is a flat six years from the date of the judgment without a renewal period.
Fair Debt Collections Practices
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) is a federal law that governs the collection of debt throughout the United States. While Michigan's Public Act 236 regulates such practices in the state, the FDCPA is the law that binds together the various state laws. The FDCPA mandates that calls to debtor have to be placed during reasonable hours, debt collectors cannot resort to abusive tactics and creditors must honor cease and desist requests from consumers.