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Entering into a domestic partnership in Washington

Even though same-sex marriage is now legal in Washington and throughout the nation, there may be reasons why same-sex couples may prefer to enter into a domestic partnership. In fact, individuals under a number of circumstances may choose to register as domestic partners, even if they are not same-sex partners. What are the statutory requirements for doing so?

Per Washington Code section 26.60.030, there are a number of requirements that must be met in order for two individuals to enter into a state registered domestic partnership. First of all, each individual must live together. Second, each individual must be at least 18-years-old and at least one individual must be age 62 or above. Third, neither individual can be married or in a domestic partnership with someone else.

In addition, both individuals entering into the domestic partnership must be able to consent to doing so. Finally, there are certain degrees of relationships that must be met. The two individuals cannot be related closer to each other than second cousins, and cannot be brothers or sisters, parents or grandparents and child or grandchild or uncles, aunts, nephews or nieces.

Under Washington law, those in domestic partnerships will be treated, for all purposes under state law, the same as couples who are married. This may be important when it comes to issues such as obtaining health insurance coverage and visiting an ill partner in the hospital, among other rights and circumstances. Still, entering into a domestic partnership is a very personal decision, whether it is between same-sex couples or individuals in other types of relationships. Since each state handles domestic partnerships differently, it is important to understand the laws in your state.

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