the course of a relationship that lasted over six years,
Donald Muridan and Nicole Redl lived together, had a child
together, and were engaged to be married. The trial court
found that the parties had a committed intimate relationship
(CIR) and, after the relationship ended, classified certain
assets acquired during the relationship as community-like
property subject to a 50/50 equitable division between the
appeal, Muridan argues that he and Redl did not have a CIR.
In the alternative, Muridan argues that even if a CIR
existed, it ended prior to Muridan's August 2014
acquisition of the most valuable asset at issue, a 25 percent
ownership interest in a retail marijuana business.
the five-factor test found in Connell v. Francisco,
127 Wn.2d 339, 898 P.2d 831 (1995), we conclude that the
trial court properly decided that the parties entered into a
CIR. In addition, we hold that substantial evidence supports
the trial court's finding that the CIR lasted from
approximately December 2008 to February 2015. Finally, we
conclude that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in
characterizing or dividing the parties' assets. We
MURIDAN AND Redl's RELATIONSHIP
April or May of 2008, Muridan and Redl met online and began a
dating relationship. In either December 2008 or January 2009,
Redl moved into Muridan's North Tacoma home. In December
2009, Redl became pregnant with the parties' only child,
D.M. In December 2010, after D.M.'s birth, the parties
became engaged. Although the parties never married, they
continuously cohabitated and shared parenting
responsibilities for D.M. until Muridan ended their
relationship on February 27, 2015.
Muridan Diagnosed with Cancer
February 2009, Muridan received a prostate cancer diagnosis.
In order to obtain health insurance for Muridan through
Redl's employer, the parties signed an affidavit of
domestic partnership. Muridan obtained insurance and received
cancer-related treatment for the remainder of the
parties' relationship. Redl and D.M. often accompanied
Muridan to his treatments. In 2011, Muridan's prostate
surgeries rendered him impotent.
Parties' Financial Relationship
the parties met, Muridan had part ownership of a fencing
installation company and earned $120, 000 per year. Redl was
a teacher and earned $67, 132 per year. The parties had
separate retirement accounts, and Muridan owned the North
Tacoma home subject to a mortgage.
first eight months of cohabitation, Redl paid Muridan $800
per month in rent. After eight months, the parties orally
agreed that Redl would no longer pay rent, but she paid the
cable bill and, after D.M. was born, 100 percent of daycare
expenses for the first 24 months. Redl also paid both
parties' medical insurance. Both parties contributed to
groceries. Muridan paid the mortgage, utilities, and daycare
expenses for the next 24 months. He also paid for D.M.'s
food, clothing, extra-curricular and vacation expenses. In
addition, Muridan bought a car for Redl's use; Redl paid
the car insurance. The parties' financial arrangements
were based on oral agreements.
D.M.'s birth, Muridan added Redl as a beneficiary to both
his life insurance policy and in his will. In 2013, prior to
filing individually for bankruptcy, Muridan gave Redl $20,
000 in cash "to hold for him." Br. of Appellant at
11. Redl later returned $5, 000 to him. The parties also
shared a joint bank account. In September 2014, Muridan
opened a joint Key Bank checking account. The parties also
had a joint safety deposit box at Key Bank.
Other Relevant Events
attending couples counseling together in 2012, the parties
decided to have another child using in vitro fertilization
(IVF). The parties attempted IVF treatments in 2012, and
again in 2013. The treatments were unsuccessful.
March of 2014, Redl met John Sidell. Redl and Sidell began a
clandestine sexual relationship; however, Redl remained in a
relationship with Muridan. In November, Muridan posted on
Facebook that Redl was "the love of my life."
Report of Proceedings (RP) (July 6, 2016) at 285. In
December, Muridan learned of Redl's involvement with
Sidell. Muridan and Redl did not immediately end their
relationship. Both parties indicated their desire to stay
together for the sake of D.M.
next two months, Muridan, asked his lawyer to add Redl to the
title on his house, and presented Redl with expensive gifts
and a Valentine's Day vacation to Palm Springs.
February 26 or 27, 2015, Muridan read a letter from
Redl's doctor informing her that she was pregnant.
Muridan correctly guessed that Sidell was the father. Redl
moved out of Muridan's North Tacoma home, gave birth, and
Property at Issue
case focuses on three assets that Muridan claims are solely
his separate property. First, a $50, 000 note for the sale of
marijuana equipment; second, Muridan's partial ownership
interest in a marijuana company, Rainier on Pine; and third,
a Timberland Bank account with a balance of $25, 000.
Marijuana Equipment Sale
2011, Muridan closed his fencing company and opened a medical
marijuana dispensary. It operated from the spring of 2011
until May 2014. In 2013, Muridan sold equipment purchased for
the dispensary for $50, 000. Muridan held a $50, 000 note
from the sale.
Rainier on Pine
August 2014, after the dispensary closed, Muridan acquired a
25 percent ownership interest in the Rainier on Pine retail
marijuana business. Shortly thereafter, Muridan became
embroiled in a legal dispute with his co-owner. In October
2015, the parties executed a buyout in the form of a
settlement contract. In order to extinguish Muridan's
interest in Rainier on Pine, his co-owner agreed to pay
Muridan $700, 000.
Timberland Bank Account
held multiple bank accounts during his relationship with
Redl. Muridan had one account, in his name only, at
Timberland Bank. It had a balance of $25, 000 when the
relationship ended. The trial court divided the Timberland
Bank account in half.
Pierce County Superior Court Proceedings
trial court held a hearing and found that, between December
2008 and February 27, 2015, the parties were in a
The court explained its reasoning:
The court finds that the parties were indeed in an
equitable/committed intimate relationship based on the
following factors: The parties continuously cohabitated
together for at least a period of seven years,  which is
evidenced by the conceiving and birthing of a child, two
attempts at artificial insemination, living together, holding