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Lost & Confused with SOLs


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I am little confused on this issue and was wondering if someone had some info or point me in the right direction? In the past 5 years we have lived in Florida, North Carolina and have settled in Wisconsin (military) Would the SOLs differ from state to state that we opened our debts in or would they be grouped and we would deal with SOLs from WI? Any input would be great!

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If you are sued you will generally be sued in state court in the state where you reside. State court judges almost always apply the SOL of that state.

That being said, it is always a possibility you could be sued in the state where you signed the agreement or in the state the agreement is subject to. However, I have only rarely seen that happen.

Being in the military complicates things considerably. When I was in the Navy and stationed all over the world, I voted in my home state, paid taxes in my home state, kept and used my driver's license from my home state, bought my car tag in my home state, etc. To the best of my recollection, that was a choice I elected.

I think it really comes down to the question of legal residence. If you have established residence in WI, then you would be properly sued in WI. To my way of thinking, where you vote, where you buy your car tags, where you pay state taxes, etc. is the criteria.

Keep in mind, I am just expressing my opinion based on my experience. It this is an important question, I suggest you consult with the JAG office on base.

If you have an option on this, you want to consider the total picture. WI is a community property state. That means that both spouses are responsible for any debt acquired during the marriage regardless if some debt is in the name of only one partner.

SOL in WI is 6 years from date of last payment (this is slightly different from most other states -- WI statutes are specific that any payment will restart the SOL -- or at least so say my notes -- you will want to check this for yourself).

Hope this is helpful.

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so moving here to a community state automatically joins our debt together?

The question is not "moving" rather rather "legal residence". As I said earlier, you need to answer the legal residence question.

But, if WI is your legal residence, then I believe the answer is yes to how community property statues affect marital debt.

I tried to do a little research on WI statute of repose and found myself getting more frustrated the longer I searched as WI seems to have lots of SORs -- one for about everything under the sun -- and they are all different. For example, the SOR for malpractice is different depending on whether or not the act resulting in death. Or, the SOR for a manufacturing defect in a motor vehicle is different that such a defect in an airplane. Of course, I was looking for SOR for breach of contract and that was the one I could not find and I finally gave up as I need to move on to other issues.

Only a handful of states even have a statute of repose. In at least one of those, the SOL and the SOR are "gapped" -- for example, the SOL is 4 years and the SOR is 10 years. In that case, a lawsuit between 4 and 10 years can be dismissed if the defendant uses the SOL as a defense. After 10 years the lawsuit if flatly barred and the plaintiff is subject to punishment for pursuing the case.

I suspect none of that makes much sense to you. I have no idea if WI has a gap between SOL and SOR for breach of contract. A WI attorney could tell you. Or, do what I did not do and that is start googling away until you find the answer.

I did however answer an semi-related question. SOL when you move from one state to another can be terribly complicated. For example, some states have a "long-arm statute" that will impose the SOL of the "from state" for a certain period of time after moving if the "from state" has a longer SOL. I found a WI supreme court decision that says WI specifically does not have a long-arm provision.

As always, taking advice from internet strangers, even if well-intended, can be dangerous as none of us have detailed and specific knowledge of your situation, the laws of your state; none of us are attorneys and thus have no legal duty to you. What I am trying to say is you need to satisfy yourself about the accuracy of everything you read here.

I still think you should speak to the JAG on base about all this.

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