Did you know that there are hefty financial benefits to marriage?
Estate taxes exemption!
Social Security, Medicare, and disability benefits for spouses!
Insurance benefits from a spouse’s employer!
Marriage is also a great excuse to throw a party, and have family and friends give you gifts and money. What’s not to love?
Some couples, however, don’t love the idea of being married as much as they value not being subject to extra bureaucracy, dealing with in-laws, and possibly going through a divorce. Some are content to opt for alternatives to marriage, such as by being in a committed intimate relationship (CIR). Even better: People or TMZ do not keep them on their divorce watchlist.
Like married couples, they have rights and protections, too. The court determines a CIR based on certain criteria, which we believe these power couples have met.
The no-one’s-wife club: Goldie Hawn’s very long relationship with Kurt Russell
Courts consider a relationship’s length and exclusivity to determine whether a couple is in a CIR. Any court can easily see that Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell have been together for decades, are exclusive, and aren’t just housemates.
The two met on the set of a Disney movie in 1966. But at the time, one half of this iconic couple was still a teen while the other was 21. It wasn’t until 1982 when two would become one.
Continuous cohabitation is also a factor in court decisions. So although Goldie believes that being together only “68% of the time” makes for a healthy, long-term relationship, theirs still amounts to a CIR.
To put things in perspective, the fellow actors have been together longer than any of the Kardashians have stayed married.
But...this just in: The pair is rumored to be “desperate to save their romance,” according to gossip sites. As family law attorneys who only read law books and websites, we know better than to trust the tattlers. Unless either of them tweets their breakup, we know they’re doing just fine.
Oprah Winfrey and Stedman Graham: Very much a couple
For 32 years, there has been no doubt that Oprah and her long-time partner Stedman Graham are anything less than a couple. They’ve been together since 1992 and have gotten engaged yet called it off. And because Oprah is so famous that she just might become president of the United States someday, the media have kept a watchful eye on their relationship.
Their relationship has only grown stronger over the decades, and Mr. Graham isn’t shy to talk about it. In short, the whole world has always known of their partnership, which has steadily continued through the years until their situation calcified into something that screams:
Couple, couple, couple.
To sum up, the queen of talk and her partner of three decades have ticked the following factors that courts determine as constituting a CIR:
- Did the parties present themselves as a couple? (YES)
- Was their relationship exclusive? (YES)
- What was the purpose of their relationship and the intentions of each party? (obviously, to love and to cherish each other, and more)
18 Years of not being “The Iglesiases”
As far as we know, Enrique Iglesias and tennis star/model Anna Kournikova are still together. Unlike many other celebrities, they’re both so good at keeping their relationship private that it remains unclear whether they’ve ever gotten married and subsequently gotten divorced, or remain boyfriend-girlfriend to this day.
In case they have split, we believe a court could rule their 18 years of partnership as a committed intimate relationship.
Because they’re such pros at maintaining privacy, there’s no way we can easily speculate about the nature of their union. It’s certainly not enough that they have kids together, that Anna has starred in Enrique’s music video, or that they occasionally show up in each other’s Instagram posts.
Our expert guess is that their union does constitute a CIR. But should Enrique surprise-announce in the coming days that he and Anna have split, they must know that neither of them is receiving tax benefits, unlike a normal divorcing married couple.
At this point, only their dog knows whether they’re still a couple.
For the record, Washington state does not recognize common-law marriage. The Evergreen State recognizes only valid marriages but will recognize common law marriages from another state in certain cases.
Whether you’re legally married or in an unmarried cohabiting partnership, you and your partner have mutual interests that need lawyerly protection. Seattle family law attorneys Buckingham, LaGrandeur, & Williams don’t just deal with the dissolution of marriage. Call us.