A statute of limitations determines how long someone has to sue or prosecute you after a certain event has occurred, such as a car accident. But if someone has already sued you and has gotten a judgment from the court against you, states also have statutes of limitations that set how long the judgment is good. If you live in Washington, this could be a long time.
Time to Enforce a Judgment
Judgments are good for at least 10 years in Washington. If a creditor sues you for money owed, or if the court awards a money judgment against you for any other reason, the judgment holder has this long to enforce it. During the 10-year period, he can use the judgment to garnish your wages or place liens against your property.
Read More: How to Reverse a Judgment
Extending the Deadline
Ten years might not seem quite like an eternity, but Washington law also allows judgment holders to ask the court to extend the deadline for an additional 10 years. The judgment holder must act within 90 days of the first 10-year deadline’s expiration. If he asks for another 10 years to collect on his judgment, the court is obligated to grant his request. Twenty years is the longest a judgment can survive in Washington; the second 10-year period cannot be extended. If a judgment is entered against you in another state, Washington will honor it, but extending its deadline depends on the laws of the state where it originated.
Beverly Bird is a practicing paralegal who has been writing professionally on legal subjects for over 30 years. She specializes in family law and estate law and has mediated family custody issues.