February 25, 2014 /24-7PressRelease/
-- If you are in a valid Washington state same-sex registered domestic partnership or RDP and neither of you has reached age 62, mark the date June 30, 2014
, on your calendar. Washington's marriage equality law that recently made same-sex marriage legal contains provisions that will automatically convert your RDP to a marriage as of that date if you take no action.
RDPs in which proceedings for dissolution of the partnership (or for separation or annulment) have been filed and are pending on June 30, 2014, will not be converted to marriage on that date.
Registered partners who wish to separate, but miss the June 30 deadline by which to begin proceedings, must instead go through a same-sex divorce
because they will then be legally married.
Any domestic partner facing this deadline must decide whether to do nothing and let the RDP become a marriage, begin dissolution proceedings to end the RDP and become an unmarried couple
or not a couple at all, or get married even sooner.
RDP status will no longer be an option after that date, except for couples with at least one partner who is 62 or older, the law's nod to protecting older couples -- both same- and opposite-gender -- from negative impact on their pensions or Social Security should they marry.
Public sentiment of many won out at the state legislature that younger gay couples should only have marriage as an option for a legal union going forward, reasoning that since straight couples did not have a domestic partnership option, neither should same-sex couples.
Legal advice crucial
A Washington domestic partner facing this deadline should speak as soon as possible with a Washington family lawyer with RDP experience who has worked with same-sex couples in family law matters. A knowledgeable marriage attorney can answer important questions to help you decide whether to allow your RDP to convert to marriage or to end it.
While the decision is deeply personal, such a partner should understand all of the legal implications involved, including issues of hospital access, inheritance, property rights, parentage, custody and visitation, spousal maintenance, estate planning, spousal benefits, prenuptial agreements and more. A skilled Washington marital lawyer can help to educate the partner and can provide legal representation to begin the RDP dissolution process before the deadline if that is the desire of the partner.
Spread the word
According to the Washington Secretary of State website on Feb. 21, 2014, there were about 9,700 RDPs. The agency reportedly will send out notices about the June 30 date to all registered partners twice before then, but apparently a significant number of the addresses in the state RDP records are out of date, making it feasible that many registered partners will be unaware of the issue and become unknowingly married on June 30.
How do you find out if you are part of a registered domestic partnership? Just type your name in here: http://www.sos.wa.gov/corps/domesticpartnerships/
Article provided by DuBois Cary Law Group, PLLC
Visit us at www.duboislaw.net