The policy of the government and court system is to promote relationships and families. In the past a person in a same sex relationship did not have the same rights and benefits and obligations as a person in a traditional relationship. That includes dividing up property, support, health care benefits, inheritance rights, and even rights to make medical decisions on behalf of a significant other or sue for wrongful death in the event that one individual in such a relationship died in a car accident. This changed in 2007 with the passing of the State Registered Domestic Partnership law.
A couple, regardless of whether they are the same sex, shall merit equal treatment in having the same privilege, right, benefit, responsibility, or immunity, granted or imposed. There are requirements to register as a domestic partnership and the law outlines how to register.
The domestic partnership law specifically provides for persons age 62 or over who in the past may have had trouble collecting social security benefits or retirement benefits because of marital status. Social security is governed by federal law which usually preempts state law. The law allows these individuals to marry even though they are eligible for retirement and/or social security.
The same laws that effect married couples in dissolving their relationship; i.e., community property, separate property, support and parenting plan, also apply to domestic partners under the law.
Chad Foster is a trusted Washington lawyer serving Snohomish and King counties with an office in Bothell. Contact us today to discuss your legal issue.