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  • 3920EN | May 2017

    Unmarried Couples: Filing a Complaint to Divide Your Property and Debts

    Instructions and Forms

    May 2017

  • 3920EN | May 2017

    Table of Contents | Page - 1

    Table of Contents

    Introduction ............................................................................................... 1

    A. How much does it cost to file a case? ............................................................. 1

    B. Where should I file my case? .......................................................................... 2

    C. What if I have questions that this packet does not answer? ........................... 2

    How to File a Case .................................................................................... 2

    What is in This Packet? ............................................................................ 5

    A. Forms to start the case in this packet: ............................................................ 5

    B. Forms you may also need in this packet: ........................................................ 5

    What else will I Need that is not in This Packet? .................................... 5

    Follow These General Instructions before Filling out any Forms ......... 6

    How to fill out each Form and File and Serve Your Complaint ............. 9

    A. Complaint ........................................................................................................ 9

    B. Summons ...................................................................................................... 11

    C. Declaration re Service Members Civil Relief Act .......................................... 12

    D. Instructions for Notice re Military Dependent - FL All Family 103 .................. 13

    Filing and Serving Your Papers ............................................................. 13

    A. Filing your documents: .................................................................................. 13

    B. Getting Ready to Serve Your Complaint and other documents..................... 14

    C. Acceptance of Service and the Service Accepted form ................................ 14

    D. Instructions for Personal Service and the Proof of Personal Service ............ 15

    E. Filing Your Proof of Service .......................................................................... 17

    Next Steps ................................................................................................ 18

    If Your Ex is in the Military ..................................................................... 18

    A. Instructions for the Waiver of Rights under Service Members Civil Relief Acts Form ............................................................................................................. 18

    B. File the Waiver Form ..................................................................................... 19

    Words and Expressions You Should Know ........................................ 19

    Blank Forms .......................................................................................... 20

    This publication provides general information concerning your rights and responsibilities. It is not intended as a substitute for specific legal advice.

    This information is current as of May 2017.

    2017 Northwest Justice Project 1-888-201-1014.

    (Permission for copying and distribution granted to the Alliance for Equal Justice and to individuals for non-commercial use only.)

  • 3920EN | May 2017

    Page 1

    Introduction

    This packet will help you fill out and file the forms and papers to start a Washington State

    Superior Court case to ask the court to divide property and debts from your long-term,

    stable, marriage-like relationship. The legal term for the type of relationship is Committed

    Intimate Relationship. You are the Petitioner. Your ex is the Respondent.

    Registered Domestic Partners (RCW 26.60): Do not use this packet. Use Filing to End Your Domestic Partnership, available at www.washingtonlaw.help.

    Unmarried Couples: Washington Property Law (available at www.washingtonlawhelp.org or

    from CLEAR at 1-888-201- 1014) has basic info on property law concerning unmarried

    couples. Use this only if you believe you meet the standards of this type of relationship AND

    you do not wish to make other claims. (See Section 2, No. 3, below.)

    Use this packet only if both of these are true:

    You are NOT registered domestic partners

    You have lived together in Washington or acquired property together in Washington

    WARNING: You should get advice from a lawyer. This packet is not a substitute for a lawyers advice and representation. This area of law is always changing. Our forms are samples only. We cannot promise that our forms, explanations of how to fill them out, descriptions of procedure, or info about this area of law will be complete, accurate, or work for you. Use this packet and these forms at your own risk.

    Before using this packet, we strongly recommend you talk with a lawyer before filing your

    case. If you are low-income and live outside King County, call CLEAR at 1-888-201-1014. If

    you live in King County, contact the King County Bar Associations Neighborhood Legal

    Clinics (206) 340-2593 to ask for a free half-hour of legal advice (ask for the family law

    clinic).

    This packet does not have info about other types of legal claims you might make. If you file a case to divide your property but do not make other claims now, you might not be able to make them later.

    A. How much does it cost to file a case?

    The costs include a filing fee of $200-250, copying fees, and (possibly) fees for service

    (delivering the papers to your ex). If you cannot afford the filing fee, you can ask for court

    http://apps.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=26.60http://www.washingtonlawhelp.org/resource/filing-for-dissolution-of-a-domestic-partners?ref=co0SThttp://www.washingtonlawhelp.org/resource/filing-for-dissolution-of-a-domestic-partners?ref=co0SThttp://www.washingtonlaw.help/http://www.washingtonlawhelp.org/resource/washington-property-law-for-unmarried-coupleshttp://www.washingtonlawhelp.org/

  • 3920EN | May 2017

    Page 2

    permission to file without paying it. See Section III for more info. Filing a Motion for Waiver

    of Your Filing Fee has more info, forms, and instructions.

    B. Where should I file my case?

    You should usually file the case in the county where you lived as a couple.

    C. What if I have questions that this packet does not answer?

    Your county Superior Courthouse may have a family law facilitator who can help. Many

    counties have free or low-cost clinics or lawyer referral services. If you are low-income and

    live outside King County, call CLEAR at 1-888-201-1014. If you live in King County, contact

    the King County Bar Associations Neighborhood Legal Clinics (206) 340-2593 to ask for a

    free half-hour of legal advice. (Ask for the family law clinic.)

    How to File a Case

    Here are the steps, in order, for filing. This is a very general description. Use this checklist

    as you go through your case. Make sure you are doing what you should at the right times.

    Many counties have case schedules you must also follow. Some counties require mediation or a settlement conference before a judge will sign final orders. Ask a local lawyer, the court clerk, or family law facilitator (if your county has one) about case schedules and local court rules.

    1. Learn About the Law in Washington. Visit our

    www.washingtonlawhelp.org. Read Unmarried Couples: Washington

    Property Law.

    2. Check for Special Local Rules and Forms. Some counties treat this type

    of case as civil cases. Others treat them as family law cases. This can

    affect scheduling, forms to use, the handling of motions, and other important

    aspects of the case. It may also affect whether the family law facilitator can

    help you.

    3. Get legal advice. Try to speak with an experienced family law attorney in the

    county where you will file about

    local practice in this type of case

    whether you meet the legal standard for a Committed Intimate Relationship

    any claims you could make that this packet does not cover

    http://www.washingtonlawhelp.org/resource/filing-a-motion-for-waiver-of-your-filing-fee?ref=I8mDIhttp://www.washingtonlawhelp.org/resource/filing-a-motion-for-waiver-of-your-filing-fee?ref=I8mDIhttp://www.nwjustice.org/http://www.washingtonlawhelp.org/resource/washington-property-law-for-unmarried-coupleshttp://www.washingtonlawhelp.org/resource/washington-property-law-for-unmarried-couples

  • 3920EN | May 2017

    Page 3

    what to ask the court about how to divide the property /debt in your case

    whether you should ask your ex to accept service

    whether you have a state registered domestic partnership (RCW 26.60.010) (if so, do not use this packet)

    whether/how to ask for emergency or temporary orders and/or file a Lis Pendens (See No. 10 below)

    This packet does not cover different legal claims such as partnership or constructive trust to support your request for division of property and debts. If you could make the other claims in your case, but do not, you will probably lose the chance to bring them up later in a different case.

    This packet does not cover children you have with your ex.

    It does not include any claims based on a written Cohabitation Agreement between you and your ex about ownership