Washington, unlike some states, recognizes “committed intimate relationships.” Courts may consider a number of factors, including the parties’ intent, the length and purpose of the relationship, whether the parties continuously lived together, and whether the parties pooled their resources. When a couple acquires property during a committed intimate relationship, it is presumed to be community property. The date a committed intimate relationship began can therefore be very significant in a property distribution during a Washington divorce. A husband recently challenged a court’s finding he and the wife were in a committed intimate relationship when a house was purchased.
The parties started dating in 2008 and the wife moved in with the husband in April 2009. The husband paid the rent and bills, and the wife helped with food and other things. She also had furniture and two vehicles. They maintained separate finances.
They bought a house together in March 2010. The wife said they saved money because she knew the builder and her husband helped them. She testified they decided to put the title and loan in the husband’s name because they weren’t married yet. She said the husband told her they would refinance after they got married. The husband paid the mortgage, and the wife said he “was adamant that [the mortgage payments] come from his sole, own checking account.”