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How can same-sex couples get married in Washington?

Same-sex marriage is still a hotly contested issue across the United States. In Washington State, however, same-sex marriages is legal. Despite that, some couples may not understand the nuances of getting married. For same-sex couples thinking about getting married in the state, or even divorced, it is in their best interests to understand the steps and laws in Washington.

Where should same-sex couples start if they wish to get married in the state of Washington? First, couples should visit a respective county so they can apply for a marriage license. They do not have to be residents of the particular county in order to apply for the license. Second, the marriage license must be solemnized by an authorized person in the presence of two or more witnesses. Couples should take note that in Washington, licenses are valid for 60 days. This means that couples should get married within 60 days of applying for the license, otherwise, the couple will need to apply for another license.

What about couples with a domestic partnership agreement? The state automatically converted domestic partnership agreements to marriages beginning June 30, 2014, with two exceptions. One is when partners are 62 years of age and older; and the other is if the couple is in the process of dissolving their partnership. Couples should take note that this rule is intended for state-registered domestic partners only. Domestic partners registered in a county, city or through an employer, are required to go through the process of obtaining a marriage license.

Can same-sex couples divorce in Washington State? Yes. However, there is a residency requirement. One of the spouses should be a resident of the state. When seeking a divorce, it is best to seek guidance from a family law professional in order to sort out all legal issues, such as child custody, child support and property division.

Source: Legalvoice.org, "Marriage for same-sex couples in Washington State," Accessed on Sep. 23, 2014

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