Under Washington Law, a spouse may make a request that the Court determine that a marriage is invalid.  This is known as a Declaration of Invalidity, but is often referred to as an annulment.  Declarations of Invalidity are rare, and are only granted in situations where there was some legal defect from the start of the marriage that makes it invalid.

According to RCW 26.09.040, a judge may declare a marriage invalid if:

•    One or both parties were under age at the time of marriage and did not receive required parental approval.
•    One or both parties were married or involved in a domestic partnership at the time of marriage.
•    The parties that were married were unwittingly blood relatives.
•    One or both parties were under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the marriage, or were mentally incapacitated in any way.
•    One or both parties were forced into the marriage.
•    One or both parties were induced into marriage by force, duress or fraud.
Additionally, the court must find that the parties did not ratify the marriage through voluntary cohabitation after they reached the age of consent, after they attained the capacity to consent, after cessation of the force or duress, or after discovery of fraud.

If you believe that you are in an invalid marriage in Washington State, you should speak to a family law attorney today.



Molly B. Kenny
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Divorce and Child Custody Attorney Serving Bellevue and Seattle Washington