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Pensions and Retirement Funds Community property also applies to pensions and retirement funds and profit sharing and stock plans. Generally each spouse has a right to one-half interest in the spouses plan, but ONLY for the number of years of the marriage. The longer your marriage, the greater your financial interest is in each other's plan. If you or your spouse have retirement plans, you will need to file a document with the court that is called a Qualified Domestic Relations Order, or a QDRO to divide the plan. This is a very specialized legal document that almost always requires professional assistance to prepare.

Other Tips:Sometimes a divorce can take a long time and decisions on property and debts need to be made right away. A temporary order may be needed to return personal property to one of the parties or to a child, or to prevent one of the parties from disposing of property, taking out a loan, or to stop one of the spouses from canceling insurance. A temporary order, which can be requested by either spouse at any time until the divorce is final, will spell out all the rights and obligations of the spouses until the divorce is final.

Community property can be a very technical subject. If you own a home or property that is worth a significant amount of money, or if you or your spouse or your employers contributed to a pension or retirement plan while you were married, you might want to ask a lawyer for help before you file for or respond to a divorce petition.

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