Law Office of John S. Palmer Attorney at Law

(425) 455-5513

Prenuptial Agreements and Cohabitation Agreements

Washington is a “community property” state; the community property laws apply to both married couples and registered domestic partners.

The rules governing whether or not property is community or separate are quite complicated. If the marriage or partnership is dissolved by a court, then absent an agreement to the contrary, all property, community and separate, is subject to a “just and equitable” division.

Couples often wish to eliminate any doubt as to whether property is community or separate in nature, how property will be divided if the relationship ends, and the survivor’s rights if one party dies. Prenuptial Agreements and Cohabitation Agreements can help couples accomplish these goals. They permit parties to create their own rules for the characterization, treatment and disposition of all property that is owned or acquired by the parties.

Washington applies a two-part test to determine if such an agreement is valid and enforceable; the first part of the test addresses whether the agreement is substantively fair, i.e., whether it is fair to the party not seeking to enforce it. If it is not, the agreement may still be upheld if it is procedurally fair, as measured by whether there was full disclosure of all assets and whether the agreement was entered into knowingly and voluntarily. Care should be taken to avoid the possibility that either party will later claim he or she was rushed into signing, and each party should be represented by independent legal counsel.

If you want a prenuptial agreement or cohabitation agreement, or are being asked to sign one, give us a call at (425) 455-5513, toll free at (877) 455-5513, or send us an email.

Local: (425) 455-5513
Toll Free: (877) 455-5513
Fax: (425) 455-5546
Law Office of John S. Palmer11911 NE 1st St, Ste. B204,Bellevue, WA 98005-3056