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.
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:
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:
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.
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.
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.