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Washington Annulment and Prohibited Marriage Laws

State laws dictate the grounds under which an annulment may be granted and which types of marriage are prohibited, such as marriage between close family members or where a previous marriage was not ended either through a divorce or death.

In Washington, annulment and prohibited marriage laws are very similar to those of other states.

Washington Prohibited Marriages

In Washington, certain types of marriages are prohibited. These include marrying your first cousin or other close family member such as a sibling or parent. In addition, you can't get married if you already have a spouse or domestic partner. You'll have to have a formal divorce first. Also, you have to be of legal age or you'll need parental permission.

Same Sex Marriage

Same-sex marriage is now legal in the Evergreen State. In 2012, Washington became one of the first states to pass same-sex marriage by popular vote. The bill passed with 51.8 percent of the vote. A subsequent decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2015's landmark Obergefell v. Hodges case held that state bans on same-sex marriage were unconstitutional, making same-sex marriage available in states that hadn't yet permitted it.

Annulments In Washington

In Washington, an "annulment proceeding" is legally known as a "Declaration Concerning Validity of Marriage" hearing. It is a way for the courts to cancel a marriage if they find that one of the requirements of a legal marriage was not actually present at the time the couple was married.

In order to obtain an annulment, you must be able to establish that you fall within one of the statutory exceptions that allows your marriage to be declared "invalid."

If a court finds your marriage to be invalid, it is as if the marriage itself never happened. Either spouse can file for a Washington annulment or declaration of invalidity. In the event that a spouse is married to more than one person, a child of the later marriage or any other legal spouse may also file a petition for invalidity.

The basics of Washington's annulment and prohibited marriage laws are listed in the following chart. See FindLaw's Marriage Law Overview section for additional articles.

Code Sections 26.04.010, 26.04.020, 130; 26.09.040
Grounds for Annulment Under 17 without waiver of superior court judge
Time Limits for Obtaining Annulment -
Legitimacy of Children Children born during a marriage later voided are born and remain legitimate.
Prohibited Marriages Previous marriage undissolved; between persons closer in kin than second cousins (half or whole blood); voidable marriages: underage or without sufficient understanding; consent gained by fraud or duress voidable by party laboring under disability or upon whom force or fraud was imposed

Note: State laws are constantly changing -- contact a Washington family law attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

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Washington Annulment and Prohibited Marriage Laws: Related Resources

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