It is commonly known that there is no such thing as a common law marriage in Washington. You are either married or you are not. But there was something called a "meretricious" relationship and that concept evolved into what is now known as a committed intimate relationship ("CIR"). But what is that? A CIR is a relationship between two people who are living together in a romantic relationship similar to marriage, but without the formalities of marriage. There are five factors that are often considered when determining whether or not a CIR existed: (1) continuous cohabitation; (2) duration of relationship; (3) purpose of relationship; (4) pooling of resources and services for mutual benefit; and (5) the parties' intent. These five factors are not exclusive and one factor is not more important than the other.
Now that you know what factors are considered in the determination of the existence of a CIR, are you in a CIR? If you are, you have to remember that while you are in a marriage-like relationship, you are not married. Therefore, some benefits (i.e. federal and state benefits) and status (i.e. right to inherit) afforded to married couples may not apply to you. Additionally, if you break up, or when a partner dies, a court will look to dissolution rules to divide property upon the termination of a CIR and when a partner dies. Thus, if you are in a CIR and you wish for your partner to receive your estate upon your passing, then it is very important to do proper estate planning.
If you have questions about Committed Intimate Relationships, please give Rehberg Law Group a call at 206.246.8772