Unmarried Couples

Ending a long term relationship is never easy, regardless of marital status. In Washington State, “common law marriage” is not recognized by the courts. Without the statutory formalities of marriage (like obtaining  license and being married by an authorized person), there is no marriage.  But couples who live together for some length of time and then split may have children (and thus need a parenting plan) and may have acquired property together that needs to be divided. Property can be divided in an action for division of property under a “committed intimate relationship.”  The parenting of children and obligations for child support are taken care of in paternity actions.

Committed Intimate Relationships

Paternity Parentage is most often only a question when it comes to fathers. When a child is born to unmarried parents, it is important to legally establish the identification of the child’s father.  Without legally documented paternity, there is no right to visitation or custody for the father.  Conversely, there is no obligation for child support until paternity is established (although once established, the obligation can extend back sometimes to the date of the child’s birth).   In Washington, paternity is primarily established through one of three ways.

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