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Annulments in Washington
Washington state’s version of annulment is called a declaration of invalidity, which means the court has ruled that there was never a valid marriage. Declarations of invalidity are only granted when some legal defect makes the marriage invalid from the start.
The Revised Code of Washington, Chapters 26.04 and 26.09 describes the Washington law on annulment.
Washington recognizes the following seven grounds for annulments. They are:
Special conditions apply to certain grounds. They include:
Invalidity means that no valid marriage between the partners ever existed; however, the court, in declaring a marriage invalid, can nonetheless issue the same orders made in a divorce in connection with child custody, visitation, child support, alimony, and property division.
Children of invalid marriages are legitimate in Washington, and have the right to both support and inheritance.
In Washington, the petitioner needs to file a document called a Petition for Declaration Concerning Validity in the Superior Court of the county where either partner lives.
The petition lists the full names of the partners, and each person’s last known address, the names of any children and birthdays, the place and date of marriage, and the date the parties last cohabited. It also states the legal grounds for the petition, and any desired relief concerning child custody, visitation, child support, alimony, and property division.
After filing the petition, the petitioner arranges service to the respondent. The court clerk’s office can explain the options to serve the respondent, including options if he or she lives out of state or cannot be found.
The superior court holds a hearing where the petitioner proves the legal grounds for invalidity. If the judge believes the argument, he or she signs a declaration of invalidity.
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