If my girlfriend and I just moved in together this month and we’ve been together for2 years, am I at a financial risk?

No kids. Sharing a 1 bedroom apartment. I’m currently paying the rent and utilities. We are not talking about getting married. I have about $800k in total assets, mostly in retirement funds. She has no appreciable assets. We live in WA.

Asked on November 29, 2011 under Family Law, Washington


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

I am assuming that what you are worried about it the issue of common law marriage, correct?  First, Washington state does not acknowledge common law marriage so you are "safe" there.  Second, in order for you to establish a common law marriage there has to be various factors met, like holding yourselves out to be married.  This can include filing taxes together as husband and wife, telling people that you are married, etc.  Just keep everything separate for the time being and if you do decide to get married you may be one to consult with an attorney about a pre nup.  This way you will be able to anticipate the worst and plan for the best from the beginning. Good luck.

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