Some people come to our office hoping that they can annul their marriage. People may want to annul marriage because they regret their decision to marry their new spouse, or because they feel like their marriage was a sham. They want their marriage (and their spouse) to go away and to be able to try and put their life back together. In Washington the process is not called an annulment it is called a determination of validity, but the effect is similar, and unfortunately for these people, is only available in limited circumstances.
While it is not called an annulment in Washington State, it has the same desired effect. A decree of invalidity makes it as if the marriage never happened. RCW 26.09.040 is the law governing the procedure and requirements necessary for someone to have their marriage declared invalid. The statute requires that both parties to the marriage be living and that at least one of the parties is a resident of the State of Washington (or a member of the armed services stationed in this state).
A declaration of invalidity may be obtained if the court finds that at the time of the marriage one of the following circumstances was present: