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Laws setting deadlines for filing lawsuits within a certain time after events occur that are the source of a claim.

These deadlines vary depending on the state, the type of issue and the circumstances of the case. A lawsuit filed after the deadline will be thrown out of court.

In California and Texas, for example, when one person breaches a written contract, the other person has four years to sue; this is called a four-year statute of limitation. A personal injury suit, such as an assault and battery case brought by the victim of domestic violence, must be brought within one year from the date of the injury in California and within two years in Texas.

There are no statutes of limitation for filing a no-fault divorce. Filing a fault divorce, however, usually involves a time limitation; for example, an innocent spouse has only a set period of time after learning of her spouse's adultery (or desertion or cruelty) to file for divorce on this ground. Failure of one spouse to file the fault divorce within the time period may provide the other spouse with a defense to the divorce.