You may have been living with your partner for a considerable time only to go separate ways. Given that you were not legally married, what’s in it for you? Do you have any rights like you would if you were married? Here is what you need to know.
Washington law recognizes the legitimacy of such unions among unmarried couples. If you have been in a committed intimate relationship (CIR) that is marriage-like, you may have similar rights to a married couple during a divorce.
What defines a committed intimate relationship?
There is no hard-line legal definition of a CIR. The court will consider the unique aspects of your relationship to determine this. Some of the factors that may weigh in include:
- The length of the relationship and whether the cohabitation was continuous or intermittent
- The reason and intention of your relationship
- Whether you pooled or combined resources
- If the relationship was exclusive
- Whether either of you was married
- Whether or not you were registered as domestic partners
The list above is not near complete. Anything that shows you had a marriage-like relationship will influence the court’s determination of whether you were in a CIR.
Your legal rights need to be protected
As mentioned, you will have similar rights to a married couple with a CIR, although there are some slight differences. For instance, while you are entitled to a share of the assets acquired with your partner during the CIR, there is no spousal support duty if you are not legally married.
If you are in such a situation, it’s best to have proper legal representation to help protect your legal rights and financial interests. Not everyone is well-versed in CIR cases, and you may lose out if you are not careful.