How society views relationships has changes significantly over the last few decades, so much so that many states have struggled to keep up in regards to the law. But despite this fact, the Washington legislature has tried very hard to keep current with societal views and to pass legislation that reflects these views.

But some legislation may be complicated and can leave residents with a number of questions. Behind many of the questions is a concern about breaking the law, which is why we wanted to address some of these questions in this week’s blog post, particularly in regards to domestic partnerships.

What is a domestic partnership?

A domestic partnership is often defined as a relationship between two individuals who live together and make decisions regarding their domestic life together but are not considered married or in a civil union.

How do you register a domestic partnership in WA?

To register as a domestic partnership, a couple must first complete the Declaration of Domestic Partnership form found on our state’s website and pay the $50 filing fee.

Can a domestic partnership be terminated?

Yes. This can be achieved by actively filing a termination claim in a court of law or inactively by getting married. If one partner dies, this can also terminate a domestic partnership.

Many domestic partnerships were converted to marriages recently, who can apply for a domestic partnership now?

Because of a change in state law that went into effect on June 30, there are now certain restrictions on registering a domestic partnership. Aside from sharing a common residence, one partner must be 62 or older and the other partner may be no younger than 18 years old. They also may not be related to each other directly or already be in a registered domestic partnership, just to name a few restrictions.

Source: The Washington Secretary of State, “Domestic Partnerships, Frequently Asked Questions,” Accessed Aug. 4, 2014