Domestic Partnership

Legal Help for Unmarried Partners

Serving Individuals and Families in Snohomish and King Counties

With a diverse group of household relationships gaining greater social recognition, the Washington legislature has recognized domestic partnership as a category for some couples who do not have legal or practical access to marriage.

If you need a lawyer to sort out the unique issues raised by same-sex or elder domestic partnership, I can help. Contact me to discuss your rights under Washington's new domestic partnership law.

Understanding Legal Domestic Partnership

In Washington, there are two types of couples who are eligible to register as domestic partners with the state: same-sex couples of any age, and opposite-sex couples in which at least one partner is at least 62 years old.

For same-sex couples, domestic partnership provides some — but not all — of the benefits of marriage under state law to couples who are not eligible to be married under Washington or federal law.

For people aged 62 or over who are collecting Social Security or pension benefits earned by a spouse who has died, domestic partnership may be preferable to remarriage so that those benefits are not lost.

The law of domestic partnership in Washington has changed several times in the past few years and is very complex. It currently grants domestic partners some legal rights and responsibilities while withholding others.

If you are considering entering into a registered same-sex or elder domestic partnership, or if you want to understand how Washington's community property division laws or other laws apply in a domestic partnership dissolution, contact me for help from an experienced Lynnwood domestic partnership attorney.

Advising Unregistered Partners

Many couples in Washington live in a state of unmarried domestic partnership and are either ineligible for legal recognition or have not registered for that status. If this applies to you, however, you may still have legal rights and responsibilities under state law.

If unregistered domestic partners have a legal dispute, the courts may apply the law of business partnership or other equitable powers. If you have questions about your legal rights with respect to a domestic partner, I can help you sort out the issues.