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Washington Divorce Guide

Annulment

Washington calls a marriage annulment a Declaration Concerning Validity or a Declaration of Invalidity. If the court finds good cause, it can declare a nullity, which is a legal declaration that no marriage had ever come into being. One can petition for an annulment if:

  • The marriage or domestic partnership should not have been contracted because of age of one or both of the parties. This state allows residents to marry at age 18 or at age 17 with parental consent. When a spouse marries while under age 18, they may not claim underage as a ground once they turn 18 if they continued to live with the other spouse.
  • A lack of required parental or court approval.
  • A prior undissolved marriage of one or both of the parties.
  • A prior domestic partnership of one or both parties that has not been terminated or dissolved
  • Reasons of consanguinity.
  • Because a party lacked capacity to consent to the marriage or domestic partnership, either because of mental incapacity or because of the influence of alcohol or other incapacitating substances, because a party was induced to enter into the marriage or domestic partnership by force or duress. If the compromised partner improves and continues to live with the other partner, the ability to use incapacity as a ground is lost.
  • By fraud involving the essentials of marriage or domestic partnership. Claims of fraud must be directly related to the marriage.
  • The parties have not ratified their marriage or domestic partnership by voluntarily cohabiting after attaining the age of consent.

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File Annulment Papers

To begin the process you must file with the court a Petition For Declaration Concerning Validity. In that petition, you will include the particulars for you and your spouse (name, address, etc.). Children of the marriage must also be identified. Where and when you got married as well as when you last lived together is required to be detailed. The petition requires that you state the reasons (grounds) why you request an annulment. If you want the court to decide child custody, child support, alimony, visitation or division of assets, you must so state.

Once filed, you must serve your spouse with a copy of the petition. The court will schedule a hearing, where you must present evidence (with witnesses if necessary). If the court believes your claims warrant an annulment, it will grant one.

[Revised Code of Washington – Title 26 – Chapters: 26.04.010, 26.04.020, 130; 26.09.040

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