| Read Time: 5 minutes | Family Law
statute of limitations on divorce settlement in california

You have several rights under California law, but you don’t always have unlimited time to assert them. A deadline to assert a legal right is codified in the applicable statute of limitations, and a failure to initiate a case within this period could forever bar you from legal relief. Is there a statute of limitations on divorce settlement in California? The answer to this question depends on your goals. There is no statute of limitations on filing for divorce in California. But there can be time limits on enforcing the terms in your divorce decree or changing the provisions in a divorce settlement. 

If you don’t want to miss out on the opportunity to receive relief during or after your divorce, immediately speaking to an experienced Davis divorce attorney is wise. At Pakpour Banks LLP, our divorce attorneys are top-rated and provide timely, compassionate, around-the-clock advocacy for clients in family law cases. 

How Long Does It Take to Get a Divorce?

At a minimum, it takes six months to finalize a divorce in California. This time can increase if you and your spouse have trouble agreeing on divorce terms or providing the information the court needs to make a final judgment. A failure to agree or provide information can prolong a divorce even if you end up entering a settlement agreement with your spouse. 

Getting to a Divorce Settlement

Under the California law on divorce, couples can end their marriage without proving either party was at fault for the split. After initiating a divorce, couples need to attempt to work out the terms of their breakup. If spouses agree on divorce issues like property division, child custody, and child support, it will save them money because they won’t have to litigate these issues before a judge.

So the couple can allow the court to decide their divorce terms, or they can save time and stress by coming to their own written agreement. After they reach a compromise, they will take that agreement to the court for ratification. The court will typically sign off on an agreement between the parties as long as it is fair and doesn’t violate public policy or the best interests of any impacted children.

A settlement agreement can cover all divorce matters or a portion of those matters. If there are any remaining issues, the court can hear evidence and determine how to resolve them. Then, after the court approves the agreement and decides on any outstanding issues, it will issue a final order of dissolution of marriage. 

What Goes Into a Divorce Settlement?

In general, if you do not want the court to make decisions for you on any part of your divorce, you and your spouse need to enter an agreement that thoroughly covers the following:

  • Child custody,
  • Division of community property, 
  • Child support,
  • Division of community debts, and
  • Spousal support.

You and your spouse might come to an agreement on these matters through mediation, a collaborative divorce, or standard negotiations. Whichever method of negotiating a settlement you choose, Pakpour Banks LLP can guide you through the process and protect your interests. 

What Information Do I Need to Settle My Case? 

You are in the best position to negotiate a divorce settlement when you have all the relevant information about parenting needs, resources, and financial needs. In fact, California courts require divorcing couples to share financial information before a divorce becomes final. 

When drafting provisions for your divorce settlement, exchange the following with your spouse: 

  • Mortgage statements,
  • Tax returns,
  • Property deeds, titles, and leases,
  • Medical records (for the spouses and the children they share),
  • Loan statements,
  • Business contracts,
  • School records,
  • Personal and professional schedules,
  • Bank statements,
  • Insurance policies,
  • Credit card statements,
  • Employment records,
  • Trust documents,
  • Retirement account statements, and
  • Wage records.

Our divorce attorneys can help you collect the information necessary to negotiate a strong settlement. We can also help you unearth any vital information your spouse may be hiding.  

The Statute of Limitations for a Divorce Settlement or Divorce Judgment

As we stated above, there is no time limit on filing for divorce. However, there can be deadlines for changing or enforcing the terms of your settlement. 

Deadlines for Enforcing Your Agreement

Unfortunately, not every ex-spouse complies with the provisions of their divorce settlement. If you have been battling your ex-spouse regarding making support payments, addressing a community debt, or respecting a childcare decision in the settlement, you can take them to court to enforce their obligation. Your ex could be found in contempt of court, or you could sue them.

Contempt of court

Ex-spouses who fail to pay child support, fail to pay spousal support, or fail to comply with family court orders might be in contempt of court. A contempt of court action for failure to pay support must be initiated within three years of the payment’s due date. A contempt of court action for the violation of a family court order that doesn’t involve support must be filed within two years of the violation. Remember, support orders usually require payments in installments that are spaced out over time, and a new statute of limitations starts to run on the due date of each missed payment. 

Filing a lawsuit

You can sue your ex for failure to pay what they owe under a divorce settlement. If your ex-spouse doesn’t voluntarily pay, you can collect your money by asking the court to levy their bank account or garnish their wages. Your ex’s debt to you is subject to 10% annual interest, and you could also have the right to recoup your collection costs.

Deadlines for Changing Your Agreement

Even when a divorce is final, there might be wiggle room to change the divorce order. The following are reasons and associated deadlines for asking a divorce court to set aside a family law order:

  • If the order was obtained by fraud, mistake, perjury, or your ex-spouse’s failure to make a required disclosure, you have one year to request that the order be set aside; and
  • If the order was obtained while you were mentally incapacitated or under duress, you have two years to ask the court to set aside the order.

The timeline for an action to set aside an order could start to run when you discover your ex-spouse’s violation or when you reasonably should have discovered the violation.

When you face issues in your divorce, talk to an attorney at Pakpour Banks LLP right away. The sooner you come to one of our skilled family law attorneys with your divorce settlement concerns, the sooner we can request relief and help ensure that your rights are not foreclosed by a statute of limitations. 

Pakpour Banks LLP Provides Effective, Efficient, and Compassionate Representation

Contact Pakpour Banks LLP when you need a family law matter handled with skill, care, and speed. Our award-winning divorce attorneys in Davis are vigorous advocates who seek the best ways to handle our clients’ cases while cutting down the costs and length of litigation. We also value strong communication with our clients. Our attorneys remain available to discuss case matters with clients, and our legal team collaborates with clients to help ensure the best resolution for each client’s unique needs. 

We serve the California community, and we can provide representation in English and Spanish. Please contact us by phone or reach out to us online to schedule a consultation

Author Photo

Brian enters the family law profession with a refreshing approach to these proceedings: heal families; don’t destroy them. In some cases, this means the family is going to look different than it did before. In other cases, this means a new family is created where there was none before. Either way, individuals should leave family court knowing their voices were heard, and with healthy attitudes about themselves and those they love.

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