We have all heard these two words. They are the primary ways to legally end a marriage. Many of us, however, are hazy on what constitutes an annulment, which in Washington State is referred to as a declaration of invalidity of marriage. Annulment is a legal procedure which cancels a marriage between couples. On the surface that seems simple doesn’t it? But how does an annulment differ from a divorce?
Annulling a marriage is similar to saying that the marriage never existed. An annulment may be sought by either party, however he or she must show that they have grounds to do so and be able to prove it in court. There are two types of marriages that may be annulled: Ones that are void and ones that are voidable. For example, a marriage between a person who is already married and another person is void. Likewise, a marriage between a 21-year old and a 14-year old is void because a 14-year old cannot legally marry in Washington. Upon reaching the legal age (18), however, that marriage would become voidable if the parties remain together. A marriage conceived under fraudulent circumstances is also voidable. For example, if a man doing time in prison for homicide escapes and marries a woman without telling her about his criminal past, she can have the marriage declared invalid when she learns about it.
What is right for you? The proper way to discover this is to seek professional council in these matters. Seattle area Divorce attorney Lyle M. Clark Jr. will help you sort through your choices between divorce and annulment. Attorney Clark has over 30 years of experience dealing with family law matters. Make an appointment at his office at 40 Lake Bellevue Suite 100 in Bellevue by calling (425) 452-3092.