How long after a divorce can you ask for and receive alimony?

UPDATED: Jul 11, 2015

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

UPDATED: Jul 11, 2015Fact Checked

Get Legal Help Today

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

How long after a divorce can you ask for and receive alimony?

I was divorced 10 years ago; at that time the stress of the court rooms was causing me so much I put on hold alimony which I have documentation that would have been like $840 a month for the rest of my life. At that time my attorney told me I could go back into the courtroom to get it at any time this has been some years later I have not worked in 5 years due to an injury in my neck and nerve damage throughout my body it has now cause me to be homeless and living off of social security at the age of 51, I need to go back in the courtroom and get alimony how hard is that to do at this time I walked away and he had over a million dollars from my personal injury case so he does not work I do not work but he is set up for life and I am homeless.

Asked on July 11, 2015 under Family Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

Consult with a family, matrimonial, or divorce law attorney immediately--you may not have gotten correct advice earlier. If there was a divorce decree (court order in your divorce) earlier, that decree was final; it settles the rights of the parties, including to spousal support (alimony). Sometimes the amount ordered can be adjusted later, if there are new or changed circumstances making it inequitable to not adjust the level of support, but it is not clear that this exception applies here, if no alimony was ordered.

Furthermore, the law and courts dislike when parties wait unreasonably long before seeking to vindicate their rights--this interferes with the effective and efficient administration of justice and also prejudices the other party, which was acting in reasonable expectation that the matter was settled. Even if you could legally try to get alimony now, there is a good chance that the court would not in fact award it to you, under a doctrine such as "laches" which punishes parties for waiting much longer than they had to--and it's not clear why you waited 10 years (and 5 years past your injury) to seek alimony. A court may refuse to entertain your case after so much time.

You need the advice and help of experienced divorce counsel, and you need it now, before any more time goes by. The longer you wait, the worse your case.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption