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Terminable Interest Doctrine: Under the terminable interest doctrine, a community pension earned by H and awarded to W would terminate at W’s death. W was simply deprived of her testamentary power over the pension benefits she was awarded on divorce. The doctrine has been abrogated by California Family Code Section 2610 and W has testamentary power of the pension benefits if H remains alive. However, E.R.I.S.A. has resurrected the doctrine through federal preemption and if the pension is subject to E.R.I.S.A. W will not be able to bequeath any interest in the pension.

Education Degrees and Professional Licenses: By statutory law, college degrees and licenses are not capable of community ownership. They may be considered property for some purposes. At divorce, the community is entitled to reimbursement for community funds used to educate or train a spouse. Interest is payable on the sums reimbursed. If the community has substantially benefited from the education, no reimbursement is available. The courts use 10-years as the presumption point. If the education was less than 10-years ago, they presume there has been no benefit, and if over 10-years ago, they presume the community benefited. Unpaid education loans are the separate debt of ...

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