Starting in 2007, Washington recognized legal unions called “domestic partnerships,” designed to provide many of the same rights and responsibilities of marriage to same-sex couples. In 2012, Washington recognized same-sex marriage. In 2015, same-sex marriage became legal in the United States.

Washington domestic partnerships are now unavailable for same-sex couples. All same-sex domestic partners were required to either dissolve their domestic partnership or allow their partnership to be converted to a same-sex marriage as of June 30, 2014.

Now, Washington domestic partners must:

  • Share a common residence
  • Be over 18, with at least one partner over 62
  • Be unmarried to anyone other than the proposed domestic partner
  • Not be in a domestic partnership with anyone else
  • Not be nearer of kin to each other than second cousins
  • Not be a sibling, child, grandchild, aunt, uncle, niece, or nephew to the other partner

What Rights Are Associated with Washington’s Domestic Partnerships?

Domestic partners have many of the same rights and responsibilities as married couples in the state of Washington. These include:

  • Hospital visitation
  • Inheritance rights
  • Right to testimonial privileges in court
  • Access to health care information
  • Sick leave benefits
  • Rights to adoption, child custody, and child support

Entering into a domestic partnership may still limit federal benefits and the partnership may not be recognized in all other states or countries.

Do I Need a Lawyer?

If you have any questions about whether or not you qualify for domestic partnership or the differences between partnership and marriage, you should consider contacting a Washington family lawyer.