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About Committed Intimate Relationships


Some states have statutes that provide that if parties have resided together as man and wife, even though they were not formally married, they will be treated as if they were actually married. Washington State does not have a common law marriage statute.

In the absence of any statutory authority, the courts have provided that assets and debts may be divided as if they were married under a theory called a "committed intimate relationship."

The Washington State Supreme Court has clarified the requirements. In Re Pennington, 142 Wn.2d 592 (2000). A committed intimate relationship is a stable relationship evidenced by such nonexclusive factors as cohabitation, duration, purpose, pooled resources, mutual services, and intent of the parties. Distribution of property acquired during a committed intimate relationship is subject to a three-part test: (1) the trial court must determine whether a committed intimate relationship exists; (2) if such a relationship exists, the trial court evaluates the interest each party has in the property acquired during the relationship; (3) the trial court then makes a just and equitable distribution of such property.

Unlike a divorce case, however, it is common to have to argue about whether this "committed intimate relationship" existed in the first place. Competent counsel should be found early on to assess the case and prepare it for court.









Gouras & Amis PLLC is a family law firm that practices exclusively in the area of family law. Gouras & Amis attorneys have over 25 years experience in both settling and litigating family law cases.

To schedule a consultation appointment
by e-mail, , or call 253-395-5552.

Gouras & Amis PLLC
Family Law Attorneys
Emphasizing difficult Family Law cases in the greater
Seattle-Tacoma, Washington area

Creekside at Centerpoint
Building One
20415 72nd Ave. S.,
Suite 420
Kent, Washington 98032

Phone (253) 395-5552 Fax (253) 395-1022

Top 100 Lawyers for Matrimonial and Family Law.
Who's Who in American Law
2000 — 2011

American Society of Legal Advocates
Top 100 Family Law Attorney Award