To get your marriage annulled in Washington, you must petition the court to dissolve the marriage. Pursuing an annulment is far from certain because the court will only grant an annulment in certain circumstances. 

What kinds of couples are “eligible” for an annulment?

Washington law reserves annulments for specific situations involving “prohibited marriages.” These marriages include:

  • Those between people more closely related than second cousins
  • Those where one party’s previous marriage is not fully dissolved
  • Those where one of the parties was under 17 and did not receive a waiver at the time of the marriage
  • Those where consent to the marriage was attained through fraud

In these specific situations, the court may find that the marriage is invalid and dissolve it completely.

What will happen to my children if my marriage is annulled?

Essentially, nothing will happen to your children. Under Washington law, any child of an annulled marriage is still a legitimate child. Indeed, you may still have similar child custody and child support discussions with your former spouse, regardless of how the marriage ended.

What about property division after an annulment?

An annulment can have a massive impact on property division discussions. Because Washington is a “community property” state, both parties jointly own all assets in the marital estate. This includes salaries earned, homes purchased, investments, retirement accounts and so on.

However, if the marriage never existed, neither did the marital estate. This could make the property division discussion much more complicated regarding joint purchases and co-mingled assets.

Annulment is complex and you deserve skilled assistance

Far from being a simpler method of ending a marriage, annulment may complicate the whole endeavor. But if you do pursue an annulment, there are many potential benefits, but you should move forward with the help of a skilled attorney.