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Statute of Limitations Laws for Divorce in California

by
author image Debbie Donner
Based in California, Debbie Donner is a freelance online writer who primarily writes articles related to personal finance. Donner received a Mensa scholarship in 2006 while attending California State University, Fresno. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in liberal arts and a multiple-subject teaching credential.
Statute of Limitations Laws for Divorce in California
San Bernadino City Hall in California is seen as the sun sets behind it. Photo Credit David McNew/Getty Images News/Getty Images

A statute of limitation law is a type of state or federal law that imposes restrictions on the time period within which legal action can be taken for any alleged injury or damage, a divorce settlement or for a crime allegedly committed. If you are getting divorced in California, it is important to be aware of any statute of limitation laws for divorce that may have an effect on the outcome of your divorce settlement, including child support, alimony and division of assets.

Divorce in California

A divorce in California is known as dissolution of marriage. In accordance with California divorce laws, the court pronounces the matrimonial contract broken. At one time in California history, a divorce could only be granted based on specific marital issues such as mental cruelty or adultery. In 1970, the limitations were removed with the employment of statute number 2310, which allows for dissolution of marriage or legal separation based on irreconcilable differences or incurable insanity.

Filing for Divorce

California is a no-fault divorce state, which allows one spouse to file for dissolution of marriage on the grounds of irreconcilable differences, even when the other spouse does not want the divorce. There is no statute of limitation laws for divorce in California in regards to filing or initiating the process. There is, however, a three-year statute of limitation for re-opening a divorce settlement to contest division of assets.

Alimony, or Spousal Support

Alimony refers to the support payments paid by one spouse to another as agreed upon in the divorce settlement. In California, alimony is called spousal support. According to Family Code section 291, there is no statute of limitation on collecting spousal support or petitioning the court to enforce the payment of alimony. Spousal support remains enforceable “until paid in full or otherwise satisfied.” In most cases, the court will have the final say in how much spousal support must be paid and for how long, according to the spouse’s income, financial obligations and living situation. Typically in California, spousal support will be ordered by the court for a set number of years or until the spouse receiving alimony remarries.

Child Support

As with spousal support, there is no statute of limitation on the collection or enforcement of child support payments. Generally, child support payments must be made until a child graduates from high school or reaches the age of 18. If the child has left home before the age of 18 or completion of high school, but has not been emancipated or freed from parental control, payments must continue. The court can order child support payments to be made beyond the age of 18 if it is determined that the child is not self-sufficient or otherwise incapacitated. The court may order up to 10 percent interest to be paid on missed child support payments.

Residency Requirements

In the state of California, you must meet certain residency requirements in order to file for dissolution of marriage. Typically, people file in the county where they live. A divorce judgment cannot be entered by the court unless one spouse has been a resident of California for at least six months and a resident of the county in which the divorce proceeding was filed for a minimum of three months.

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