Washington family law recognizes Committed Intimate Relationships (“CIRs”), which are stable relationships, similar to a marriage, in which the parties live together knowing that they are not lawfully married. CIRs have also been referred to as “meretricious relationships.” Washington courts consider five factors to determine if a CIR exists: whether the parties have continuously cohabitated, the length of the relation, the relationship’s purpose, whether the parties pooled their resources and services, and the parties’ intent. If the court determines there is a CIR, it then must determine the parties’ interest in the property acquired during the CIR and distribute the property in a just and equitable manner. Connell v. Francisco.
A man recently challenged a court’s finding of a CIR and division of property. The parties were in a romantic relationship from 2008 to September 2020, according to the appeals court’s unpublished opinion. They purchased a home and lived together from December 2012 until they broke up. The female partner made the down payment on the home, but they otherwise paid bills equally. They had two children.
The female partner alleged the male partner committed domestic violence. She petitioned for division of the property of a CIR. She separately petitioned to establish parentage of the children and sought a parenting plan and dissolution of the CIR.