Committed Intimate Relationships

In Washington, courts recognize the legal rights of separating unmarried parties, whether the same sex or opposite sex, under the legal doctrine of “committed intimate relationships.”  Committed intimate relationships, formerly known as meretricious relationships, provide similar legal rights as those afforded married couples in terms of division of property.  Under this legal doctrine, a court has the authority to divide property otherwise considered community property in the dissolution of marriage.

In applying the law regarding committed intimate relationships, a court must first establish whether the parties were involved in such a relationship.  To make this determination, a court will analyze factors including continuous cohabitation, the duration of the relationship, the purpose of the relationship, the pooling of the parties’ resources and the parties’ intent regarding the relationship.

Once a court finds the establishment of a committed intimate relationship, it must characterize property as “separate property” and “community property.”  An important distinction between a dissolution of marriage versus a dissolution of a committed intimate relationship is that a court in a dissolution of committed intimate relationship proceeding has the authority to divide only property considered “community” (property acquired during the relationship).  A court may not divide property characterized as “separate” (property acquired before the relationship or after the parties’ separation).

At Eagle Law Offices, P.S., we are experienced in dissolving parties’ committed intimate relationships and providing effective legal advice and protection to individuals involved in committed intimate relationships. Contact us today at 206-426-6961.



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