What is a Domestic Partnership?

A domestic partnership is a legal arrangement between non-married couples that gives them many of the rights afforded to marriage, without actually being legally married. Those interested in registering domestic partnerships can do so with the Washington Secretary of State.

Who Qualifies
In order to register as a domestic partner, the couple either needs to be the same gender or have one member who is age 62 or older. Otherwise, if neither person is married, already in a domestic partnership with another party, not close relatives and both are old enough and mentally capable to commit to being in a domestic partnership, Washington allows them to formally register their relationship.

Protections for Domestic Partners
Registering as domestic partners gives a couple the right to certain benefits, such as recognition on a death certificate, the legal right to visit in the hospital and the legal right to medical decision making. Once a couple enters into a domestic partnership, they begin to share common property, responsibility for financial matters and parenting responsibilities. Domestic partners are also protected under domestic violence laws. In many ways, they are treated legally just like a married couple, without the terminology.

Ending a Domestic Partnership
Sometimes, as with marriages, couples who have registered as domestic partners find themselves ready to dissolve the relationship. Because of the formal registration, this process demands legal attention, similar to the dissolution of a marriage. The division of common property, creation of a parenting plan and even setting up spousal support can all affect the dissolution of domestic partnerships. Because of this, many couples seek professional help in order to protect their rights.

If you find yourself facing difficulties within a domestic partnership, it is best to contact a qualified legal team, such as Eagle Law Offices. With our help, you can protect your rights, property and other interests.