Unwed Couples Could Be Subjected to Support Orders

Like Alimony for the Married, Palimony Could Be Next for Washington


The line dividing the legal rights of married couples and the legal rights of unmarried couples living in long-term “Committed Intimate Relationships” has, over time, been judicially dismantled.


A Committed Intimate Relationship is defined as having a “stable, marriage-like relationship” and refers to the parties involved as “partners” or “domestic partners”. You can find more information about Washington State property laws for unmarried couples here.


Washington Courts have long awarded the same rights and responsibilities to unwed couples in child custody, visitation, and support proceedings as they have to married couples.

Over the last 40 years, our Courts have created new judicial doctrines of quasi-community, or “community-like”, property to handle the necessary division of property that was acquired during a Committed Intimate Relationship. The Courts have looked to the principles of Community Property laws for guidance in the division of assets during the termination of a Committed Intimate Relationship.

So, after years of living and sharing in a Committed Intimate Relationship, why is the economically weaker partner not entitled to the same post-relationship economic support of a divorced spouse?

If you are entitled to child support, why wouldn’t you be entitled to “quasi-spousal” support?

Why do Washington Courts not look to the same principles of Community Property laws for the award of spousal support that they use for the division of property?

Partners dissolving a Committed Intimate Relationship should be entitled to the same fair and equitable treatment in the awarding of “quasi-spousal” support as they receive in the award of child support and the division of assets.


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