How do I obtain an annulment under Washington State law?
While somewhat rare, it is possible to obtain an annulment under Washington State law. In general, annulments under Washington State law are governed by RCW 26.09.040. In order to obtain an annulment, you must be able to establish that you fall within one of the statutory exceptions that allows your marriage to be declared "invalid" (the legal term for an annulment).
If a court finds your marriage to be invalid , it is as if the marriage itself never happened. Either spouse, or the guardian of an incompetent spouse, can file for Washington annulment or declaration of invalidity. In the event that a spouse is married to more than one person, a child of the later marriage or any other legal spouse may also file a petition for invalidity.
Is it possible to obtain an agreed annulment under Washington State law?
Yes, it is possible to obtain an agreed annulment under Washington State law. Again, however, they are somewhat rare and you must be able to show that you fall within one of the statutory exceptions detailed in RCW 26.09.040.
The pursuit of an annulment in Washington State can be a difficult and complex process. If you are contemplating an annulment or have questions about whether or not you qualify for one, it is important to speak with a lawyer about the specific facts and circumstances of your case. While difficult, obtaining an agreed or uncontested Washington State annulment of marriage is possible if you qualify.
Petition to have marriage declared invalid or judicial
determination of validity — Procedure — Findings — Grounds — Legitimacy of
(1) While both parties to an alleged marriage are living, and at least
one party is resident in this state or a member of the armed service and
stationed in the state, a petition to have the marriage declared invalid may be
(a) Either or both parties, or the guardian of an incompetent spouse, for any cause specified in subsection (4) of this section; or
(b) Either or both parties, the legal spouse, or a child of either party when it is alleged that the marriage is bigamous.
(2) If the validity of a marriage is denied or questioned at any time, either or both parties to the marriage may petition the court for a judicial determination of the validity of such marriage.
(3) In a proceeding to declare the invalidity of a marriage, the court shall proceed in the manner and shall have the jurisdiction, including the authority to provide for maintenance, a parenting plan for minor children, and division of the property of the parties, provided by this chapter.
(4) After hearing the evidence concerning the validity of a marriage, if both parties to the alleged marriage are still living, the court:
(a) If it finds the marriage to be valid, shall enter a decree of validity;
(b) If it finds that:
(i) The marriage should not have been contracted because of age of one or both of the parties, lack of required parental or court approval, a prior undissolved marriage of one or both of the parties, reasons of consanguinity, or because a party lacked capacity to consent to the marriage, either because of mental incapacity or because of the influence of alcohol or other incapacitating substances, or because a party was induced to enter into the marriage by force or duress, or by fraud involving the essentials of marriage, and that the parties have not ratified their marriage by voluntarily cohabiting after attaining the age of consent, or after attaining capacity to consent, or after cessation of the force or duress or discovery of the fraud, shall declare the marriage invalid as of the date it was purportedly contracted;
(ii) The marriage should not have been contracted because of any reason other than those above, shall upon motion of a party, order any action which may be appropriate to complete or to correct the record and enter a decree declaring such marriage to be valid for all purposes from the date upon which it was purportedly contracted;
(c) If it finds that a marriage contracted in a jurisdiction other than this state, was void or voidable under the law of the place where the marriage was contracted, and in the absence of proof that such marriage was subsequently validated by the laws of the place of contract or of a subsequent domicile of the parties, shall declare the marriage invalid as of the date of the marriage.
(5) Any child of the parties born or conceived during the existence of a marriage of record is legitimate and remains legitimate notwithstanding the entry of a declaration of invalidity of the marriage.
[1987 c 460 § 4; 1975 c 32 § 2; 1973 1st ex.s. c 157 § 4.]