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Committed Relationship & Domestic Partnership Attorneys

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It is common for couples to live together, purchase property, acquire debt, have children, and never get married. Although there is no common law marriage in Washington State, there are state laws that recognize some long-term relationships. Depending on several factors, the court system may treat your relationship as a domestic partnership or committed relationship if you separate, entitling you to certain assets. To learn more about these and discuss your specific situation with an experienced domestic partnership lawyer, contact Cohen Family Law, LLC today. We offer free consultations; call at (360) 953-5000 or send us a message online.

Why Choose The Domestic Partnership Lawyers at Cohen Family Law, LLC?

  • With over 25 years of combined experience, our domestic partnership lawyers have a thorough knowledge of Washington’s laws related to non-marital relationships.
  • We will aggressively represent your best interests and provide strategic case planning to help you achieve your goals.
  • We offer constant communication and responsiveness to our clients, giving them peace of mind throughout the entire legal process.

Domestic Partnerships

A domestic partnership is, essentially, an alternative to marriage but still an official partnership that is registered with Washington State. To register as domestic partners in Washington, the following conditions must also be met:

  • At least one partner is age 62 or older;
  • The other partner is at least 18 years old;
  • You live together;
  • Neither partner is already in domestic partnership or marriage;
  • You are not closely related by blood; and
  • You are both legally able to consent to the arrangement.

Ending a domestic partnership follows the same procedures as ending a marriage. That means you will have to fill out a dissolution action in state Superior Court and obtain a court order to dissolve the partnership, which also involves dividing assets, maintenance, and child custody or parenting plans. If both parties cannot agree on the important matters referenced above, they will have to either mediate or litigate their differences.

Domestic partnerships were initially treated as a substitute for marriage for same-sex partners. However, the state changed its stance on marriage equality in 2014, and when the law changed, any valid domestic partnership was automatically converted to a legal marriage. Our domestic partnership lawyers can help you navigate the process.

Committed Intimate Relationships

Washington State recognizes the importance of long-term relationships between two unmarried people, calling them committed intimate relationships. There is no strict definition, but the court will consider the following factors to determine whether a committed intimate relationship existed:

  • Continuous, exclusive cohabitation during the relationship, or living in the same home as a couple;
  • The duration of the relationship;
  • Whether resources were combined for joint projects during the relationship, such as purchasing a home together or maintaining joint bank accounts;
  • The intent of the couple to be involved in a marriage-like relationship, such as referring to each other as a spouse, having children together, creating wills together, etc.;
  • The purpose of the relationship, or enjoying the benefits of marriage such as companionship, love, sex, friendship, and mutual support.

If the court finds that such a relationship exists, a judge can divide the property and liabilities of the parties. However, the division may be different than how property is divided in a divorce, which is 50/50. Spousal maintenance will not be awarded.

Contact Us Today

Regardless of the nature or length of your relationship, our experienced Washington domestic partnership attorneys are here to offer guidance and support. Call (360) 953-5000 or contact Cohen Family Law, LLC online to discuss your rights in a free consultation.

Clark County Committed Relationship & Domestic Partnership Attorneys

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