The Burke Law Group, PLLC
Old City Hall Building
221 N. Wall St., Suite 624
Spokane, WA 99201

Main Office: (509) 466-7770
Collaborative Law: (509) 999-6747

Domestic Partnership

The policy of the government and court system is to promote relationships and families. In the past a person in a same sex relationship did not have the same rights and benefits and obligations as a person in a traditional relationship. That includes dividing up property, support, health care benefits, inheritance rights, and even rights to make medical decisions on  behalf of a significant other or sue for wrongful death in the event that one individual in such a relationship died in a car accident. This changed in 2007 with the passing of the State Registered Domestic Partnership law.

Any privilege, right, benefit or responsibility or immunity granted or imposed on a person as a spouse whether in a same sex relationship or not is equal, thus meriting equal treatment. There are requirements to register as a domestic partnership and the law outlines how to register.

The law specifically provides for persons age 62 or over who in the past may have had trouble collecting social security benefits or retirement benefits because of marital status. Social security is governed by federal law which usually pre-empts state law. The law allows these individuals to marry even though they are eligible for retirement and/or social security.

The same laws that effect married couples in dissolving their relationship; i.e., community property, separate property, support and parenting plan, also apply to domestic partners under the law.

Meet Our Attorneys

Dena Allen

Principal / Member of the Firm, practicing in Family Law Litigation, Collaborative Law Divorce, Cooperative Divorce, Adoptions, Estate Planning, and Probate

John Burke

Of Counsel, practicing in Collaborative Law for Divorce, Uncontested Divorce and Estate Planning. On medical leave.

Matthew Fischer

Principal / Managing Member of the Firm, practicing in all areas of Family Law Litigation, Divorce and Uncontested Divorce. Also serves as a Spokane County Superior Court Pro Tem Commissioner

Cathy Helman

Associate Attorney, practicing in Appeals, Probate, Estate Planning, Family Law, and Bankruptcy. Also is an Administrative Law Judge Pro Tem with the Washington State Office of Administrative Hearings.

Joseph Linehan

Of Counsel, practicing in Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) appeals, Family Law Litigation, Divorce, and Dependency. Also serves as a Spokane County Superior Court Pro Tem Commissioner

Robin Schmahl

Senior Associate Attorney, practicing in Family Law Litigation, Uncontested Divorce, Estate Planning, Probate, and Guardianship

Rhylee Smith

Associate Attorney, admitted to practice in Washington and Idaho, practicing in all aspects of Family Law, Divorce, Child Custody and Support, and Modifications to Existing Orders

Kenneth Zigler, Jr.

Of Counsel, practicing in Family Law Litigation, Divorce, Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) and SSI benefits, and Lawsuits and Disputes including Personal Injury

Joanna Stranger

Rule 9 Intern, practicing in Family Law and Divorce