Annulment in Washington

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Annulment in Washington is also known as 'Declaration Concerning Validity' or 'Decree of Invalidity'. The court passes an order saying that a valid marriage never took place and thus it will be considered as null and void. The difference between an annulment and a divorce is that the divorce dissolves a valid marriage and an annulment declares that the marriage was invalid right from its inception.

An annulment is much difficult to attain as it is necessary to prove the grounds on which one files the petition. It is a rarer occurrence than a divorce.

Requirements for Annulment in Washington:

A person filing a petition must be a resident of the Washington state for at least 90 days prior to the date of filing. If the husband and wife are not residents of the Washington, they must at lest be married in the state.

If one of the spouses serves in the military, he / she can file for an annulment in the court of Washington.

Grounds for Annulment in Washington:

There are various grounds specified by the Washington statute for seeking an annulment. These grounds need to be proved in order for annulment to be granted. These grounds are as follows:

  • Underage - If one or both the spouses were underage during the wedding and they lacked the parental or guardian consent to get married, such a marriage is considered as invalid from the beginning and annulled on the grounds of being underage.

    However, claims of being underage need to be proved in front of the court. The party seeking annulment must be able to provide the age proof of the spouse claiming to be underage.

  • Under Influence - If either or both the spouses were under the influence of drugs, alcohol or medication and got married on a whim or an impulse, such a marriage is considered invalid as both the spouses lack the ability to make any important decisions of their lives.

    Both the partners have to prove that they were extremely drunk and they need to provide an evidence to the court such as the priest who conducted the marriage or the county clerk who registered the marriage.

  • Bigamy - If a person is already married to a person who is known to be alive and the previous marriage hasn't been dissolved, the current wedlock becomes an invalid marriage. It is annulled on the grounds of bigamy which is illegal in the USA.

    However, the person filing for the petition has to prove the previous marriage to the court by asking the previous partner to testify or provide the first marriage certificate.

  • Consanguinity - If the partners realize that they are related by blood after getting married, they can file for an annulment of marriage in the state of Washington. By the statute, a person is not allowed to marry another person to whom he is related by blood. Even the cousins by marriage aren't supposed to get married.

    Such claims have to be proved in the court and the annulment can be demanded on the grounds of consanguinity or affinity.

  • Force - If either or both the partners are forced to enter the wedlock by the use of threats, duress or fear, such a marriage is null and void right from the beginning. It is considered that a valid marriage never took place as the free will or free consent is necessary before entering the wedlock.

    Such a marriage invalidates itself when force is applied and thus has to be annulled. However, the proof is necessary in this case too.

  • Inability to Consummate - A marriage is invalid until it is consummated. If a marriage hasn't been consummated until after days it took place such a marriage is considered invalid. The reasons for not consummating the marriage may vary and the petitioner has to prove that the marriage was never consummated.

    The reasons could be anything from impotency, hidden sexual orientation, fetishism, terminal illness, insanity or any other reasons that render a person incapable to consummate the marriage.

  • Lies - If a marriage has been entered on the base of lies concerning the sexual orientations, income, social status, openness to procreate or promise to fidelity, such marriage is void from the start. Truth is a basis of every relationship and certainly a base of marital union. These factors seriously affect the well-being of a marital bond as well as the emotional and physical health of the individual. Hence, the marriage can be annulled on the grounds of fraud or lies.

    If the court finds the proofs that are provided enough, it can declare the marriage as null and void and both the spouses are able to remarry and get on with their lives. The laws, grounds and requirements for annulment in Washington state are pretty clear.

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