Code of the District of Columbia

§ 46–601. Rights enumerated.

(a) For the purposes of this section, the term:

(1) “Domestic partner” shall have the same meaning as provided in § 32-701(3).

(2) “Domestic partnership” shall have the same meaning as provided in § 32-701(4).

(b)(1) The fact that a person is or was married or registered as a domestic partner shall not impair the rights and responsibilities of such person, which rights and responsibilities are hereby granted or confirmed, to acquire from anyone, and to hold and dispose of, in any manner, as his or hers, property of any kind, or to accept and be bound by any covenant or agreement relating to any property or debt, or to contract or engage in any trade, occupation, or business arrangement or in any civil litigation of any sort (whether in contract, tort, or otherwise) with or against anyone, including such person’s spouse or domestic partner, to the same extent as an unmarried person.

(2) A person’s spouse or domestic partner and the property of a person’s spouse or domestic partner shall not be liable because of any contract or tort by that person in which the spouse or domestic partner has not directly or indirectly participated, except that both spouses or domestic partners shall be liable on any debt, contract, or engagement entered into by either of them during their marriage or the term of the domestic partnership for necessaries for either of them or for their dependent children.

(3) Except as otherwise provided by law, a married minor shall be subject to the same disabilities, including the requirement for appointment of a guardian of the minor’s estate, as an unmarried minor.

(c) This section shall not be deemed to affect the law relating to ownership of property held by the spouses, or the domestic partners, as tenants by the entireties, inheritance of property, actions for loss of consortium, family relations, or, except as to necessaries purchased during marriage or domestic partnership, obligations for marital support.

(d) A tenancy by the entirety may be created in any conveyance of personal property to spouses or to domestic partners.


(Mar. 3, 1901, 31 Stat. 1374, ch. 854, § 1154; Aug. 31, 1957, 71 Stat. 562, Pub. L. 85-244, § 8; Sept. 14, 1961, 75 Stat. 517, Pub. L. 87-246, § 6; July 22, 1976, D.C. Law 1-75, § 5(b), 23 DCR 1182; Oct. 1, 1976, D.C. Law 1-87, § 33(a), 23 DCR 2544; Apr. 27, 2001, D.C. Law 13-292, § 802, 48 DCR 2087; Mar. 14, 2007, D.C. Law 16-270, § 2, 54 DCR 851; July 18, 2008, D.C. Law 18-33, § 6(b), 56 DCR 4269.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 30-201.

1973 Ed., § 30-201.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 13-292 deleted “dower,” following “relating to” in the last sentence.

D.C. Law 16-270 rewrote the section which had read as follows: “The fact that a person is or was married shall not, after October 1, 1976, impair the rights and responsibilities of such person, which are hereby granted or confirmed, to acquire from anyone, and to hold and dispose of, in any manner, as his or hers, property of any kind, or to accept and be bound by any covenant or agreement relating to any property or debt, or to contract or engage in any trade, occupation or business arrangement or in any civil litigation of any sort (whether in contract, tort or otherwise) with or against anyone including such person’s spouse, to the same extent as an unmarried person, and neither the spouse of such person nor the spouse’s property shall be liable because of any contract or tort by such person in which the spouse has not directly or indirectly participated, except that both spouses shall be liable on any debt, contract or engagement entered into by either of them during their marriage for necessaries for either of them or for their dependent children. A married minor shall be subject to the same disabilities, including the requirement for appointment of a guardian of the minor’s estate, as an unmarried minor, except as otherwise provided by law. This section shall not be deemed to affect the law relating to ownership of property held by the husband and wife as tenants by the entireties, inheritance of property, actions for loss of consortium, family relations, or, except as to necessaries purchased during marriage, obligations for marital support.”

D.C. Law 18-33, in subsec. (c), substituted “spouses, or the domestic partners,” for “spouses”, and “marriage or domestic partnership” for “marriage”; and added subsec. (d).

Cross References

Abolition of curtesy and dower, see § 19-102.

Devises and bequests to surviving spouse and effects on other rights, see § 19-112.