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Is alimony subject to a statute of limitations in California?

Unlike the laws that govern what we can and cannot do behind the wheel of a car or on U.S. roadways, there is no single handy-dandy book people can reference when it comes to legal issues concerning family law. Well, that is unless you want to reference our state’s Family Code, which contains a series of statutes that outline everything from how the divorce process should proceed to who gets what in a divorce settlement.

But as many have realized after doing their own research, state statutes are very complex to read and comprehend without at least some legal background. Adding to the difficulty of understanding is the fact that these statutes are subject to change because of legislation. Even cases heard before the courts can affect how we interpret our laws, which is not an easy task for the average person to undertake.

It’s because of this complexity that people are encouraged to direct their questions toward an attorney knowledgeable in family law. One such area that oftentimes leads to a number of questions concerns alimony and whether or not a spouse need to request such payments within a certain amount of time. This is a good question to ask and an even better one to have an answer to, which is why we’d like to address it in today’s post.

The time frame in which a person is allowed to file a civil claim is called the statute of limitations. When the statute of limitations expires, any claim made in accordance with that statute has no legal standing. Thankfully, Section 291 of the California Family Code addresses this issue by stating that a judgment or order for spousal support, also known as alimony, “is enforceable until paid in full or otherwise satisfied.” This means that there is no statute of limitations on requesting and receiving alimony payments so long as the payment is stipulated in the divorce decree or by judgment.

As you can imagine though, not all divorces are the same, meaning special circumstances could create a unique legal situation that could leave you in need of legal help. If you have questions about your own divorce or need guidance on a legal issue, the attorneys at Schoenberg Family Law Group, P.C. can help.