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  • Pre- and Post-Nuptial Agreements

    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.

  • Domestic Partnerships/Committed Intimate Relationships (CIRs)

    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.