In Washington State, when a boyfriend girlfriend, or unmarried couple decides to part ways, the separation process can be complex, especially when dividing jointly owned property such as a house or a car. Unlike married couples, who have clearly defined legal processes for divorce, unmarried couples face unique challenges. Understanding the legal options available can help ease the transition and ensure a fair distribution of assets. It is also important to learn more about the common issues that arise during a committed intimate relationship here.


What are the legal options for separation of boyfriend girlfriend or unmarried couples?

While Washington State does not recognize common-law marriages, when an unmarried couple who jointly owns property such as a house or a car separates, their legal options can vary depending on various factors including ownership arrangements, financial contributions, and any agreements they may have in place.

Legal Options for Resolution

  1. Mediation:
    • Mediation involves a neutral third party who helps the couple negotiate and reach a mutually agreeable solution. This process is often quicker, less expensive, and less adversarial than going to court.
  2. Legal Action:
    • If mediation fails or is not an option, one party may file a lawsuit for the division of property. In this scenario, the court will examine factors such as ownership documents, financial contributions, and any existing agreements to determine a fair division.


What does Soriano Law advice on this?

First, document everything. Keep detailed records of all financial contributions, including mortgage payments, maintenance costs, and improvements to the property. These records will be crucial if a dispute arises. You may also want to consider Legal Agreements, by drafting a written agreement to outline how property and assets will be divided in the event of a separation. This may be a long shot, but having an open mind to protect both parties’ interests can go a long way.


Seek Legal Advice

Soriano Law LLC has a FREE consultation so a party may be able to learn more and consider some options. Consulting with an attorney experienced in family law can provide valuable guidance. An attorney can help draft agreements, represent you in negotiations, and advocate for your interests in court if necessary.

Ultimately, navigating property division issues for unmarried couples in Washington State requires careful consideration of the specific circumstances involved and may benefit from legal guidance to ensure a fair and equitable resolution. Call us now at (360) 249-6174 or email