Get on the Path to Results Today.
Request Free Consultation

What is the Annulment Process in Washington State?

Request Free Consultation
Posted By Cohen Family Law | December 5 2022 | Uncategorized

In Washington state, an annulment is known as a “declaration of invalidity.” It differs from a divorce in that a divorce ends a valid marriage. An annulment or “declaration of invalidity” voids a marriage that was never valid.

Grounds for Declaring a Marriage Invalid in Washington State

Washington state law requires that you have a reason to declare a marriage invalid. The state acknowledges seven specific grounds for this, which are as follows:

  • Underage marriage can be dissolved if one of the parties is too young for marriage under Washington state law.
  • Bigamy is not legal in Washington, so the existence of another living spouse is grounds for invalidating the marriage.
  • Incest is grounds for considering a marriage invalid. Marriages between anything closer than first cousins can be dissolved through a declaration of invalidity.
  • Incompetence would mean that the spouse could not consent to the marriage. This could mean they were insane, intoxicated, or incapacitated at the time of the wedding.
  • Duress is a reason for annulment. A valid marriage cannot result from coercion.
  • Fraud can be grounds to declare the marriage invalid as well. When one spouse defrauds the other about something essential to their marriage, it can be considered an invalid marriage.
  • Forced marriages are also considered invalid. A valid marriage is not one that took place because of physical force or threatening behavior.

Steps to Have a Marriage Declared Invalid

One must follow several steps to have their marriage declared invalid. One of these steps is filing a “Petition for Declaration Concerning Validity” document with the county of residence’s superior court. This petition requires the following to be listed:

  • Full names of both spouses
  • Last known address of each spouse
  • Names of children and their dates of birth
  • Date the marriage took place
  • The location where the marriage originated
  • The date that you last resided together
  • Legal reasons to have the marriage declared invalid
  • Considerations for the court, such as child custody, visitation, and child support.
  • Property division requests

Once these are filed, a copy will need to be served to your spouse. The superior court clerk can offer you alternatives for delivery. Though, it may be more helpful to contact Cohen Family Law, LLC, if you need help determining where your spouse lives or if he resides out of state.

The superior court will hold a hearing, allowing you to present evidence that the marriage is invalid. The judge will hear your case and decide if the evidence proves that your marriage warrants a declaration of invalidity.

What Happens Next?

After declaring your marriage invalid, the judge can make orders just as they would in a divorce. Some of these orders involve child support and visitation, spousal maintenance, and the division of property.

If a child was born of an invalid marriage in Washington, the child is still considered legitimate there. They have the right to support and inherit from their mother and father. The judge will make decisions upon invalidating the union.

Once the judge finalizes things, it will be as if no valid marriage between you and your former spouse ever existed.

If you Need Help Pursuing an Annulment, Reach out Today

Cohen Family Law, LLC specializes in family court matters and will know how to best help you obtain a declaration of invalidity if you have found yourself in a marriage that you think is invalid. Contact us today. We are ready to help.

Free Consultation

  • *required fields
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.