Divorce/Legal Separation/Committed Intimate Relationship

Divorce is the term commonly used to describe the end of a marriage. Dissolution of Marriage is the legal term used to describe the end of a marriage as set forth in Revised Code of Washington Chapter 26.09. In the State of Washington, you can “dissolve” a marriage recognized by any other State in the United States or in any country in the world.

A Legal Separation is similar to a divorce but the parties remain married. The result of a legal separation is similar to a divorce, property and debts are divided and assigned, child custody and support is determined, spousal maintenance may be awarded. But, the parties remain married at the conclusion. Either party may convert a Legal Separation to a Dissolution of Marriage six months after the entry of a Decree of Legal Separation by motion to the Superior Court.

divpicA Committed Intimate Relationship is a relationship that is not a marriage but is a long term marital like relationship. A Committed Intimate Relationship is treated similarly to a marriage with some important differences such as the inability of the court to award spousal maintenance to the other party. This is a complicated area of law and each case is individual and is very fact dependent.

There are essentially two broad issues involved in the dissolution of any marriage. One issue is financial, the other issue is personal. Financial issues involve how property will be divided, how debt will be divided, and whether one spouse must financially assist another spouse through spousal maintenance or alimony for a time until that spouse is able or should be able to support his or herself. The personal issue involves child custody and child support with the development of parenting plans and support orders.