A trial court must grant an annulment to parties married outside Washington if the court finds the marriage was void or voidable pursuant to the laws where the marriage was contracted, unless it was subsequently validated. RCW 26.09.040(4)(c). A wife recently appealed a court’s denial of her petition for a Washington annulment.
According to the appeals court’s unpublished opinion, the parties had a ceremonial marriage in India in 2009 and subsequently moved to the U.S and lived together as spouses for several years. They had a child together in 2014. The husband moved out in 2017 and the wife petitioned for legal separation. She subsequently amended to petition for annulment. She alleged the husband had fraudulently represented having registered their marriage in Indian, and that, because he had actually failed to register, the marriage was legally void. The husband asked the court to dissolve the marriage instead.
The primary issue at trial was whether the marriage certificate was signed and registered pursuant to Indian law. The wife offered evidence of irregularities in the certificate the husband used in his immigration. She presented an authenticated document from India stating there was no record of the marriage. The husband presented a partially-signed marriage certificate. The wife argued it was probably forged. The husband also submitted a fully-signed version of the marriage certificate with his supplemental briefing. The trial court denied the wife’s motion to strike it.