North Carolina Statute of Limitations on Money Owed


The statute of limitations sets the amount of time a creditor has to sue you for nonpayment of a debt. Although you are still responsible for the debt once the statute of limitations expires, creditors will not be able to receive a judgment in court against you. However, the statute of limitations can restart if you admit ownership of the debt or make any payments. In North Carolina, this time limit depends on the type of debt you’re dealing with.

Oral Contract

  • If you borrow money and agree to pay it back without a written contract, the state of North Carolina gives creditors three years to file a lawsuit. The most common debt of this kind is a loan from family members and friends, but business transactions can also fall under this classification.

Written Contract

  • Most debts are in this category, including unpaid bills and bank loans. In North Carolina, creditors must initiate lawsuits within the three-year statute of limitations for this kind of debt.

Promissory Note

  • Promissory notes differ from written contracts because they include a detailed schedule of interest and payments. Mortgages are the most common form of promissory note, along with investor-financed loans for raising business capital. North Carolina law allows creditors five years to bring legal action against you for this kind of debt.

Open-ended Accounts

  • Credit cards and other forms of revolving credit are included in this debt category. The statute of limitations in North Carolina is four years for open-ended accounts.

Court Judgments

  • If someone has already received a judgment in court against you, she has 10 years to enforce that judgment, including garnishment of wages and seizure of assets. Child support is also included under this type of debt.


  • Photo Credit Design Pics/Design Pics/Getty Images
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