The laws of some states do recognize the concept of common law marriage, but Washington is not one of those states. Common law marriage typically means that a couple has lived together for a significant period of time and held them out as married. Although Washington does not recognize common law marriages, there are ways to seek court orders about issues such as minor children and property that are available to unmarried couples who have separated after a long period of time.

Under Washington law, for instance, you may be able to establish marital-like property rights if you can prove to the court that you were in a committed intimate relationship (CIR). A CIR is a stable and lengthy relationship, and usually, one in which the parties continuously resided together and pooled their resources, similar to a married couple. If the court finds that a CIR exists, it has the power to divide up property that accrued during the CIR, regardless of whose name is on the title to the property or who purchased the property.

Likewise, parenting plans and child support orders are available to unmarried couples who separate, just as they are available to married couples. The fact that a child is born outside of a marriage has no bearing on a parent’s responsibility to care and provide for a minor child.

Whether you are married or simply have resided with your partner in a committed relationship, there is relief available to you under Washington law for issues like child custody, parenting plans, child support, and division of property and debts. The divorce attorneys at Pacific Northwest Family Law know how to handle all aspects of Washington divorce and family law cases. Whether we able to resolve your case through alternative dispute resolution or must proceed to trial, we are here to help and give you the advice that you need. Contact our office or call us at 1-509-792-3154 to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced divorce lawyers today.