In just a matter of days, on December 6th, same-sex couples will be able to apply for marriage licenses. The passing of Referendum 74 in Washington State has sparked some interesting legal questions for both attorneys and those directly affected by the new bill. For instance, because the bill phases out domestic partnerships (except for seniors) what happens to couples who are already registered as domestic partners? If neither partner is at least 62 years of age as of June 30, 2014, and the couple does not get married, then the domestic partnership dissolves. On the other hand, the couple may choose to get married and may do so as early as December 9, 2012. One question that comes up then is what would be the legal date of the marriage? Despite what many may assume, it would not be the date of the wedding ceremony but the date of the original registered domestic partnership. So if a couple registered for a domestic partnership in 2010 and then gets married in 2012, the legal date of the marriage would be the 2010 date.
These questions along with others – and their answers – have legal implications for estate planning, dissolutions, and tax paying. For more information regarding same-sex marriage in Washington State, visit http://legalvoice.org/news/documents/2012MarriageQA_000.pdf.