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Can a live-in but unmarried relationship of more than 30 years help to guarantee the sharing of partnership dissolution proceeds

Bellevue, WA |

My “brother-in-law” has lived with my sister for 30 years. Both people have frequently represented themselves to others as married. Both have shared joint checking accounts. However, they have always filed separate tax returns. Both have their own grown children. My sister now wants to give her (not yet dissolved) family partnership property to her own kids rather than jointly share it with my brother-in-law. But my brother-in-law is understandably concerned about this. My sister apparently does not want to share her inheritance with him and cannot give the partnership shares to her offspring before dissolution. Is there a precedent that can be sited here?

Attorney Answers 1


They have been involved in a long term intimate relationship. When they separate, either party may ask the court to divide the party of the relationship in a fair, just and equitable manner just as of they were married. Property that was acquired during the relationship will be considered as community property. Inheritance remains separate property.

The information is for general information purposes only. Nothing stated above should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation.

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Thomas A. Mackin

Thomas A. Mackin


I just wanted to correct a typo in the answer. It should read..."either party may ask the court to divide the property of the relationship..."