Tri-Cities Family Law Attorneys

Marriage Law: It's Not Just About Divorce

When you think of marriage and lawyers, you probably think of divorce. But there are many cases in which a married couple—or a couple planning to be married—might utilize the services of a lawyer.

Prenuptial Agreements

Prenuptial agreements are one of the most common reasons couples seek the help of a marriage lawyer. When a couple makes a prenuptial agreement, they are essentially outlining each others' rights to assets in the event the marriage ends. 

Registered Domestic Partnerships

Despite the significant changes in Domestic Partnership laws that took effect in 2014, Domestic Partnerships still exist, and a couple can still form a new domestic partnership. A domestic partnership attorney is most often needed for the following:

  • Moving from cohabitation to a domestic partnership
  • Dissolving an existing domestic partnership
  • Converting an existing domestic partnership to a marriage
  • Other legal options for those in meretricious (cohabitation) relationships.

Spousal Abuse

Spousal abuse is a serious charge that can result in a variety of consequences, including both criminal and civil lawsuits. If you are the victim of spousal abuse, it's important that you contact an experienced family and marriage lawyer as soon as possible. 

Common Questions About Marriage Law

Who legally owns our property once we’re married?

While most couples don’t immediately look into property rights after marriage, there is a lot to consider. In Washington, property owned and purchased before marriage will continue to be individually owned. Property purchased together will be considered jointly owned. Since Washington is a community property state, all new property is considered jointly owned — this includes income, debts, and any purchases. Only property that was individually owned before the marriage or gifted to or inherited by a specific spouse remains separate.

How does marriage affect taxes?

While marriage is a big personal decision, it is also a big financial decision. This is especially true when it comes to taxes. The most significant change you can expect is your filing status if you choose to file a joint return. Filing jointly or separately each come with different deductions and costs. It’s worth looking into both filings to determine what’s best for you. 

What rights do we get once we’re married?

Married couples enjoy many legal benefits, including spousal benefits for Medicare, disability, veterans' benefits, Social Security, and other retirement savings. Some people find that there are tax advantages to getting married, though this isn't always the case. Spouses also have the right to make healthcare decisions for each other in the event one is unable to make decisions for him- or herself. Your spouse may also benefit from employer-provided health insurance and medical or maternity leave.


Is your family going through some legal changes? We can help.

Arthur D. Klym has many years of experience in family law. Ask us anything here or better yet schedule a consultation and see what we can do for you.