Brewe Layman regularly prepares and reviews both Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements. A Prenuptial Agreement is entered into prior to marriage; a Postnuptial Agreement is entered into after a marriage has occurred.

The purpose of such an agreement is to clarify and agree on issues pertaining to property the parties are bringing into a marriage and to establish a contract about the division of assets in the event of a future divorce, separation or death.

To be enforceable, a Prenuptial or Postnuptial Agreement must be carefully prepared or reviewed. Additionally, there are some issues that aren’t generally binding in a court, even if they are addressed in a Prenuptial agreement, such as child custody. Generally, to be enforceable, it is critical:

  1. That the agreement be in writing.
  2. That both parties have independent legal counsel.
  3. That there be full and complete disclosure of each parties’ assets/debts and the values thereof as a portion of the document.
  4. That the document be executed well prior to the marriage date if it is a Prenuptial Agreement. We generally advocate that the document be executed sixty (60) days prior to the marriage.
  5. That the document be freely and voluntarily executed.

While Washington does not recognize common law marriages, our courts have judicially recognized certain living-together relationships, which are commonly referred to as committed intimate relationships (CIRs). Courts have defined these kinds of relationships as “a stable, marital-like relationship where both parties cohabit with knowledge that a lawful marriage between them does not exist.”


The dissolution of a CIR can be just as thorny and complicated as a marital divorce, with issues surrounding division of assets, parenting plans and child support.


Washington’s Supreme Court has identified five factors to analyze whether a CIR exists, which include:


  1. Continuous cohabitation;
  2. Duration of the relationship;
  3. Purpose of the relationship;
  4. Intent of the parties; and
  5. Pooling of resources and services for joint projects.


Each factor is considered on a case-by-case basis to determine whether a CIR exists.


Once the court determines that the relationship should be characterized as a CIR, it must then: (1) evaluate the interest each party has in the property acquired during the relationship, and (2) perform a just and equitable disposition of all property of the parties, pursuant to RCW §26.09.080.


Evaluating whether a CIR exists requires a detailed analysis of both the facts of the relationship and the relevant case law.


To view a partial list of documents you should compile and bring to your initial consultation, click here.

  • Children

  • Divorce


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