Same-sex partners in Washington State and across the country are watching closely as the perception of a domestic partnership and the legality of a marriage changes seemingly by the day. While the concept of marriage is being defined differently, it is unavoidable that many marriages will end in divorce. Understanding the state law when it comes to dissolution of a marriage whether it is same-sex partners or opposite sex partners and the legal issues therein is key to ending the union with both parties being treated fairly. The information provided is imperative.
In a petition for a dissolution of marriage or to declare the validity of the marriage, the petition must allege that the last known state of residence for both parties. In the event that the residence was in Washington State, the last known county of residence must be provided. The location and date of when the marriage took place must be noted. In the case of a domestic partnership, when and where the union was registered must also be provided.
In addition to those requirements, the petition also requires information on a variety of other topics. For example, the petition must include the date of the separation, names of dependent children or the names of the domestic partners if one is pregnant. Agreements as to the maintenance of children or of a spouse or domestic partner need to be listed. Any property that was listed as an asset for both parties or property that was separate and will be disposed of must be part of the statement. Either or both members of the marriage or domestic partnership will be able to petition with the state to end the union.
Whether a couple is together as part of a domestic partnership agreement or a marriage that is deemed “conventional” can be a confusing matter with numerous legal issues to traverse. Knowing what information is required when ending the union can help to make the process easier. Discussing the case with an attorney with experience in same-sex partners dissolving a marriage or domestic partnership can help.
Source: apps.leg.wa.gov, “RCW 26.09.20 Petition — Dissolution of marriage or domestic partnership, legal separation, or for a declaration concerning validity of marriage or domestic partnership — Contents — Parties — Certificate,” accessed on June 9, 2015