In one week, the State of Washington is converting thousands of domestic partnerships to marriage. This applies only to the 6,605 active same sex couples registered with the State of Washington. It does not apply to heterosexual couples who are registered as domestic partners.
Converting same sex domestic partnerships to marriage
There were 7,857 domestic partnerships created and registered in the State of Washington since the inception of the law. Of those, 1,252 couples have already terminated their domestic partnership. RCW 26.60.100 automatically converts any same-sex domestic partnership to marriage.
Are there any exceptions?
It does not apply to heterosexual couples. Forced conversions apply to any same sex state registered domestic partnership. The operative words being “state registered”. For example, the law does not automatically convert domestic partnerships through the City of Seattle. However, if a domestic partnership through the city of Seattle is or was registered with the State’s registry, it does apply. There are two other exceptions. One, couples in the middle of a dissolution of the domestic partnership (domestic partnership divorce), their domestic partnership is NOT converted on June 30, 2014. The second exception is when either party is over the age of 62 on June 30, 2014.
Why are seniors and baby boomers excluded?
It makes sense that State Law will force couples getting their domestic partnership dissolved (DP divorce) forced into having the same domestic partnership converted into a marriage. The reason is that many senior couples who register for domestic partnership do not want to risk the lose of benefits like spousal maintenance. Conversely, our firm sees many senior and baby boomer couples who choose to get a legal separation rather than a divorce for essentially the exact same reason: the risk of a lose of benefits. Most of our legal separation clients are specifically concerned with the lose of medical coverage. Obamacare should have an affect on this on the number of clients requesting a legal separation rather than divorce, but the exact number is difficult to project at this time.
If you need more information on how this will impact you, call our office to arrange a consultation with one of our experienced divorce attorneys.