A prenuptial and post-nuptial agreement is a contract entered into by two people before, or in the latter case, after their marriage. The agreement decides how property and debts will be divided upon divorce, legal separation, or when one spouse dies. A prenuptial agreement can only affect legal rights of the married couple, not the children. Washington state prenuptial and post-nuptial agreements cannot address child custody or child support issues.
We prepare and negotiate prenuptial and post-nuptial agreements, and review them once divorce or legal separation is contemplated to determine their impact on your divorce. There are very specific requirements with respect to prenuptial agreements and post-nuptial agreements so it is important to start the process early.
Cohabitation Agreements (Living Together Contracts)
A cohabitation agreement is a contract between an unmarried couple that spells out the contractual legal rights and responsibilities you and your partner have to each other. The contract clarifies property ownership and determines property and debts will be divided if the relationship ends. It is particularly helpful in long-term committed relationship to memorialize each party’s mutual expectations and/or to avoid the risk a court will treat the relationship as a meretricious relationship and treat you as married for property division purposes.
Meretricious Relationships in Washington State
In Washington State, a court may deem a couple that has cohabitated in a stable, marriage-like relationship for a significant period of time as living in a “meretricious relationship.” If that occurs, the couple is treated as married with 50% community interest in property and debts earned during the relationship and divide it accordingly.