I Lived in California and Had a Debt I Did Not Pay. I Now Live in New Jersey. – Monika


“Dear Steve,

I lived in California when I incurred credit card debt of $1300 in 2003. In 2005, I got married and moved to Texas and have been uemployed since then to pursue higher education.

In 2009, I moved to New Jersey and started getting mails and phone calls from a collection agency regarding $1300 debt. I ignored them and now I received a letter saying that I’m getting sued. I am still unemployed and don’t know what to do. My name has been changed since then and my bank account was opened in Texas with new married last name. I got sued under my maiden name.

What is the next step after getting sued by creditor? Can I get sued for debt that was incurred in California while I live in NJ now? What is the statute of limitation?


Dear Monika,

If seems that the one point of this situation is that you admit that you did incur a $1,300 debt six years ago and have not made an attempt to repay it.

You said that you don’t know what to do. You should follow these steps.

  1. Being sued is not something to be taken lightly. You should really talk to a lawyer that is licensed in the state you are being sued in for specific legal advice.
  2. You should not disregard any correspondence about this debt, especially from the court if you are sued. If you are sued and you don’t respond to the suit you will lose by default.
  3. If you determine that the suit is valid you have two ways to clear this debt:
    • Bankruptcy
    • Negotiate a payment plan on it to avoid being sued.


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5 thoughts on “I Lived in California and Had a Debt I Did Not Pay. I Now Live in New Jersey. – Monika”

  1. I am a bankruptcy attorney in California. The only thing I would add is that it is illegal for a debt collector to threaten to file a lawsuit when it cannot legally do so. A debtor collector of a consumer debt threatening to sue when the statute of limitation expired is violating the Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and possible violates local laws as well.

    You should speak with an attorney in your area for 3 reasons. First, you may have a claim against the debt collector. Secod, you may need help in verifying whether or not a lawsuit was actually filed against you. And third, you may have other debts that cold be handled in a bankruptcy proceeding due to you extended unemployment.
    .-= Carl H. Starrett II´s last blog ..Phone Numbers Used By Phony Debt Collectors =-.

  2. CLARIFICATION: Apparently, Monica is in New Jersey now, not Texas. In that case, SOL on “collections” is 6 years in NJ.

    Chances are, Monica, process server will not serve correctly without skip-tracing your moving and getting married.

    Process servers are required by law to make a good-faith effort to serve at last-known “good” address.

    .-= Mike´s last blog ..Phony Debt Collectors Don’t Need Guns To Steal Your Money Reports Better Business Bureau! =-.

  3. Monika,

    Rule #1: Debt collectors LIE! Confirm suit at County Courthouse.

    Commenter “JH” is correct on “zombie” debt and debt collectors. Always keep this in mind: 99.9% of all people facing debt collectors have NO clue what I’m sharing with you. They know NOTHING about SOL. All they (kind of) know is SOL on REPORTING debt. Still, they “think” all debt legally MUST be reported for 7 or 10 years. NOT true at all.

    To address your situation, here’s what you need to know:

    If/When sued, respond & SHOW UP, presenting “time barred” defense. Certainly, you should talk with an attorney specializing in debt collections (www.naca.org).

    You incurred debt in California and since have moved to Texas, debt owner can (and will) use statute of limitations in state with longest term.

    That is, credit card debt is considered an “open” account.

    California SOL is 2 or 4 years, depending on oral or written contract.

    Texas SOL, on the other hand,is 4 years.

    SOL begins on Date of FIRST Delinquency.

    Monika, when did you stop paying (that is, what month and year?). It seems the debt is time-barred.

    A debt owner still can sue. However, your defense to the Courts is debt is time barred. GAME OVER!

    At which time, you will get BIG 3 to remove through strategic disputing.

    By the way, it’s not difficult to “vacate a judgment” if the debt owner attempts to pull a fast one when processing the suit service. In other words, you MUST be given advance notice of suit and legal limit for responding.

    In no way (from what you’ve shared) should you file BK. Most people file BK after talking to a BK attorney. C’mon, guys, think about it. How do BK attorneys get paid? What do you THINK they’re going to recommend?

    Best of luck to you, Monika.


  4. I had one from California and now live in Massachusetts about eight years ago. I really don’t remember if I paid it off.

    After being harassed by a zombie debt collector, I investigated it because they say they bought it from the originating credit card company. That company was bought out by WaMu in 2005 four years after the card was charged off. WaMu sent me a letter stating that they had only sent it to one collector and “no other entity”. That one company was NOT the zombie debt collector and I never heard from them. They are NOT on my credit report nor is WaMu nor is the originating collector. BUT the zombie debt collector IS. When I asked in writing that they verify the debt within 30 days they refused. They also wouldn’t itemize the debt. My credit line was $2K and their figures went to $4K+. I have no way of knowing how they got the debt if they were not the originating company where the debt was forwarded to. My attorney said that the debt is beyond the statute of limitations but they can and do sue you on zombie debts if you don’t show up for the court date. Many times you get the summons AFTER the court date has passed. Sneaky little devils. Reminds me of Oliver Twist when he goes to court for stealing and a witness comes forth stating that he was not the thief and the judge says “BUT I’VE ALREADY PASSED JUDGEMENT”. The agency I’m talking about went out of business and reopened under another name. They didn’t show up for the last conference and were told that if they didn’t show up for the next one they were in danger of default. I wonder if they’ll show up? Nah.

    Any way, good luck.


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