Family Law Documents Prepared Washington Questions
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Below are some of the most commonly asked questions. If you do not find what you are looking for below, go to our contact page to submit your questions. Please note that the information provided on this site is NOT legal advice, but simply provided at an additional source-you should always seek advice from an attorney and complete your own due diligence.
Q: Legal separation versus divorce/dissolution, what is the difference?
A: Legal separation is much like a divorce. However, when legally separated, the individuals cannot not remarry unless they legally convert their legal separation to a divorce. Individuals chose to become legally separation instead of divorce for religious reason or to retain certain marital benefits, e.g. inheritance.
Q: What is an Annulment?
A: Washington State does not have an annulment, however, a rarely used action called a petition for a declaration of invalidity exists, which is like an annulment because it declares that the marriage was void/could not legally exist from the day that it started. The court can declare a marriage invalid if: one or both parties were underage (under 17); lack of required parental or court approval for persons under age 18; one or both parties was already married when the marriage took place; the parties are too closely related by blood; one spouse lacked capacity to consent to the marriage, either because of mental incapacity or because of the influence of alcohol or drugs; or a party was induced to enter into the marriage by force or duress; or by fraud involving the essentials of marriage. However, in order to use one of the six reasons above to have your marriage declared void, the petitioner must PROVE that the parties have not continued their marriage by voluntarily continuing to live together as husband and wife after turning 18, after having the ability to consent, after the force or duress had stopped, or after the fraud was discovered. In General, remember that you have to prove the reason being used.