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Common Law Marriage Attorney in Spokane, WA

Couples who are not statutorily married — even common law couples from other states — may be entitled to certain rights in Washington. An experienced Washington family attorney can help.
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Does Washington Recognize Common Law Marriage?

Washington is not among the handful of states that allow common law marriages to occur within their borders. It does, however, recognize common law marriages from states that authorize them. Additionally, unmarried couples who fit certain criteria may qualify for numerous rights and protections afforded by the state of Washington, many of which are the same that married couples enjoy.

What Is a Committed Intimate Relationship in Washington State?

A committed intimate relationship (CIR) is a marriage-like status that is officially recognized by Washington State. 

Although no clear statutory definition exists to describe CIRs, judges use a list of factors to aid in their determination, including:

  1. The length of time of the relationship.
  2. The nature of the relationship.
  3. The length of continuous time lived together.
  4. The appearance of each couple in the other's estate planning documents.
  5. The couple's intention is to appear as married or devoted.
  6. Each partner's efforts to better the relationship.
  7. The pooling of resources, including joint accounts and property.

These are just a few factors the court will consider when deciding whether a couple is in a CIR. The court will consider any relevant information while deciding.

What Are the Requirements for a Common Law Marriage in Washington?

As mentioned, Washington state recognizes common law marriages from the handful of common law marriage states.

Generally speaking, all states that allow common law marriage have substantially the same requirements:

  1. The couple must have lived together for a while.
  2. Both parties must be legally permitted to marry.
  3. Both parties must intend to be seen as a married couple.

Additionally, the parties must behave in a way that shows they are a married couple.

How Many Years Do You Have to Live Together for Common Law Marriage in Washington?

When it comes to deciding on the validity of common law marriages from other states, Washington courts require the parties to have been living together for at least five years. During this period of uninterrupted cohabitation, the couple must also have considered themselves married. Keep in mind, however, that fulfilling the five-year cohabitation requirement does not guarantee that the courts will recognize the validity of a common law marriage from another state.

What Are the Rights of Individuals in a Committed Intimate Relationship?

Individuals in CIRs enjoy many of the rights given to married couples.

For example, in the event that individuals in a CIR move to end their relationship, they have access to the courts to help them resolve disputes relating to:

  1. Child support determination
  2. Child custody determination
  3. Splitting up debts and liabilities

When making decisions for CIRs, the courts follow the same procedures and principles used when dealing with married couples.

For example, judges are guided by the best interests of the child when making child custody rulings for both unmarried and married couples. However, maintenance or spousal support issues are not addressed by the court. Partners can create their own legally binding arrangements.

Do I Need a Cohabitation Agreement If I Am in a Committed Intimate Relationship in Washington?

If drafted correctly, a cohabitation agreement can be an optimal choice for couples in a CIR. A cohabitation agreement is a contract between two individuals who do not intend to seek a marriage license. It contains provisions relating to the financial duties of cohabiting individuals and is legally binding. 

According to the goals and desires of the couple, the agreement may contain various terms, including:

  1. Division of assets and debts provisions
  2. Inheritance provisions
  3. Real property division
  4. Dispute resolution terms
  5. Financial support and maintenance provisions

Couples may also include child custody and support provisions. However, the courts first defer to the law and the best interests of the child when deciding on issues related to children.

Ultimately, with the aid of an experienced lawyer, a cohabitation agreement can remove much uncertainty from legal disputes and processes involving CIRs.

Why Choose Hodgson Law Office?

Hodgson Law Office handles each case with meticulous preparation to effectively advocate for our clients.

  1. Legal services tailored to you
  2. Decades of combined experience
  3. Extensive knowledge of family law and related issues
  4. Compassionate attorneys
  5. Representation in all family law matters
  6. 24/7 availability

We have worked hard to build a reputation as one of Spokane's top family law firms. Our services extend to unmarried couples, who deserve to know their rights. Whether you need help with child support or have questions about committed intimate relationships, an experienced family law attorney from Hodgson Law Office can help.

Schedule a Consultation with a Spokane Committed Intimate Relationship Lawyer

You may have significant rights if you are in a CIR. Contact Hodgson Law Office for a consultation today.
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Get a Consultation from a Spokane Common Law Marriage Attorney

Contact Hodgson Law Office for a consultation with a common law marriage attorney. Learn what family law protections are available.
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Reviews from Our Clients

I hired Mark Hodgson for a divorce in Spokane. He was open, friendly, and gave me great advice and counsel. Mark was honest with me about my case and worked hard to resolve all of my issues quickly. He responded to my phone calls and questions every time. He was WONDERFUL in my hearing and got me alimony, child support, and the parenting plan that my children needed. I had two other lawyers before Mark and he is far superior to my previous counsel. He fought hard for me and he knew the law. I would and will recommend him to everyone that i know.
These situations are never easy. Deciding to get a lawyer then choosing one was a very hard decision. I spoke to a few people that have been thru divorce and Mark’s name came up more than once. I went and met with him, his business partners and Casey his assistant. They were all friendly, professional and most importantly for me nonjudgmental. He is very educated on divorce with children and keeps in mind what is best for the kids! He answered my questions and didn’t make me feel belittled as other lawyers did. Thank you Mark Hodgson and team you are all very appreciated!
Called Mark Wednesday the day before Thanksgiving. He got us in that Friday the day after Thanksgiving. We decided to hire him and he made the time to start the process of paperwork that Sunday. It was great he did this so my wife and I didn’t have to miss work and our case was a time sensitive issue. The few times I’ve had to emailed him he seem to get right back to us with answers.

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Contact Hodgson Law Office for quality, tailored representation. Learn how to take full advantage of unmarried couples' rights.
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