The “Creasman presumption” held that, absent any evidence to the contrary, the way property was titled at the end of a cohabitational relationship was presumed to be the way the parties intended. The “exceptions” to the Creasman presumption should be the rule to ensure the flexibility required by equity in these types of cases, while keeping distinct the lines between marriage and cohabitation. To promote this thesis, Part II discusses the facts of Creasman and then dispels the myth of importance surrounding its presumption. Part III reviews the facts of In re Marriage of Lindsey, looks at whether cohabitation and marriage can ever be analogous, then attempts to identify trends and find predictability in the cases between Lindsey and Connell. Part IV summarizes the facts of Connell and concludes that statutory analogy produces no better results than existing equitable doctrines, while leading to much greater unpredictability. Finally, Part V argues that the Creasman “exceptions” offer an equitable and more predictable way of distributing cohabitational property in a manner that meets the expectations of the cohabitants without infringing upon the legal relationship of marriage.
Jennifer L. King, First Comes Love, Then Comes Marriage? Applying Washington's Community Property Marriage Statutes to Cohabitational Relationships, 20 SEATTLE U. L. REV. 543 (1997).