Does My Marriage Qualify for an Annulment in Washington State?

Posted On March 19, 2024 Family Law

There are two legal ways to end a marriage in Washington State. You can petition the court for dissolution of marriage (divorce), or you can petition for an annulment.

A divorce ends a legally valid marriage. However, an annulment voids the marriage, and it is as if the state hadn’t ever recognized that the marriage was valid from the start. In other words, when a marriage is annulled, it is as if it never occurred.

What Are the Grounds for Annulment in Washington?

Washington State recognizes seven grounds for annulment of a marriage. You may petition the court for an annulment based on the following grounds:


You must be at least 18 years old to get married legally in Washington without a parent’s consent. You can legally marry at 17 with a parent’s consent.

Therefore, the marriage can be annulled if one of the spouses is underage. If the underage spouse continues living with their spouse after they turn 18 years old, however, the marriage cannot be annulled.


You are only permitted to have one legal spouse at a time. If you want to remarry, you must obtain a divorce or annulment. If your spouse was married when they married you, you can have your marriage annulled.


A spouse agreed to the marriage because they were being forced into the marriage physically or by threat.


A person must be mentally competent to agree to marriage. For the court to grant the annulment, a spouse’s mental capacity must have been impaired to a degree where they did not understand what they were doing and what it meant to be married. 

Impairment can include intoxication, incapacitation, or mental illness that prevents the person from providing legal consent to the marriage.


Washington does not permit relatives closer in relation than second cousins (whole or half-blood relatives) to legally marry. Therefore, if you married a close relative, your marriage might qualify for an annulment in Washington State.


A spouse misled or lied to the other spouse about a detail essential to the marriage. The marriage would have never occurred if the spouse had disclosed the truth.

For example, a spouse failed to tell the other spouse they could not have children or they had a sexually transmitted disease. Had the spouse known this information, they would not have married that person.


A spouse cannot be pressured into marriage. However, to obtain an annulment on the grounds of duress, the duress or force had to exist when the individuals exchanged their vows. If a spouse continues to reside with their spouse freely once the force or duress is gone, the marriage cannot be annulled.

How Do I Obtain an Annulment in Seattle, WA?

If you want to annul your marriage, you must file a Petition for Declaration Concerning Validity with the court. The petition must include details of the marriage, including the spouses’ names, the date of the marriage, and the location where the parties were married. The petitioner (spouse seeking the annulment) must explain the legal grounds supporting the claim that the marriage is invalid.

Typically, spousal support, property division, and attorney’s fees are not granted in an annulment. However, a judge could grant this relief if one spouse committed fraud. In some cases, the court could grant a spouse fees and costs when the spouse has a low income and the other spouse is at fault for the invalid marriage.

Even though the annulment voids the marriage, the court retains jurisdiction over matters related to children born to the parties. Parents are expected to pay child support even if they are not married. Judges in Washington State use standard child support guidelines but may deviate from those guidelines in several situations.

Judges decide child custody cases based on the best interests of the child. If the parents cannot agree to a parenting plan that is in their child’s best interest, the judge will determine custody after hearing evidence from each parent.

Should I Petition for Divorce or Annulment in Seattle, WA?

The best way to know if your marriage qualifies for annulment is to speak with a Seattle divorce lawyer. An attorney can analyze the circumstances of your marriage and advise you of your legal options. Hiring an experienced Seattle family law attorney ensures you have someone protecting your best interests throughout the process of ending your marriage.

Contact the Washington Family & Divorce Lawyers at Twyford Law Office To Get Legal Assistance Today

To learn more and get the help you deserve, call our divorce & family lawyers or reach out to Twyford Law Office online by visiting our contact us page. You can also visit our office at your nearest location.

Twyford Law Office Spokane Office
430 W Indiana Ave, Spokane, WA 99205.
(509) 327 0777

Twyford Law Office Seattle Office
814 Second Avenue, Suite 515, Seattle, WA 98104
(206) 590-7085

Twyford Law Office Bellevue Office
1408 140th Pl NE Suite 400, Bellevue, WA 98007
(425) 517-3350

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