If you are committed to someone but later split due to some reasons, the Washington State allows a just and equitable division of properties under CIR or Committed Intimate Relationships. Here’s what you need to know.


The State employs a doctrine called “Committed Intimate Relationship”, abbreviated as “CIR”. If it is determined that a couple was in CIR, upon separation, the State courts will decide if the parties cannot or will not agree on their own about important stuff like property, support, and some rights. But how do you qualify for a relationship under CIR?

What Is CIR?

First, Courts have defined a CIR as a “stable, marital-like relationship where both parties cohabit with the knowledge that a lawful marriage between them does not exist”. This is in order to protect couples who have acquired some property during the span of their relationship so that one party is not unjustly enriched after separation. 

How Should I Qualify Under CIR?

Of course, the Court has to be convinced whether your relationship is CIR. Below are the following factors you should know to qualify under CIR:

  1. Continuity of living together – Some couples find it hard to identify the exact moment of “cohabitation” – but it has to be established. It is important to note that a couple is continuously living together based on their relationship – despite some parties, as understandable, would move out for some time and move back in again if reconciled.

  2. Duration of your relationship – The longer, the better – yes! The longer the relationship is, the greater chance of the judge to determine that you were in a CIR. It should be long enough to merit a property division.

  3. Pooling of resources – Courts would want to see how you, as a couple, handled money. Did both parties pay for the bills? For groceries? How much was the contribution? Was there a problem in finances? It is important that parties contributed time, energy and resources to the relationship – including, if applicable, raising a child/ren, or supporting them. 

  4. Purpose of the relationship – Generally, the courts will find the purpose an important factor. Was your relationship about companionship? Was it love? Was it sex? Support? Having or raising a child or creating a family? It is important to establish commitment during the relationship which ultimately drives whatever purpose of it. 

  5. Intent of the parties – this pretty much sums up the above 4 factors – upon determination of continuous cohabitation, the purpose of it, the resources you had, how you were committed in the relationship – allowing the court to examine your intent on being in this relationship.

Crucial also to note that every case is different. Also, no factor is more important than the other. The facts that you present in your case still weigh heavily to characterize your relationship as a CIR.

Still confused and has questions? Feel free to ask for a FREE consultation with us. Our experienced and compassionate lawyers are able to help you. Call us now!

You can also read other blogs for unmarried couples here