Besides the ability to end a marriage by divorce, Oregon and Washington authorize two different methods that often deal with the same subjects: An annulment of the marriage, which may be granted in limited circumstances; or a limited or unlimited legal separation, which technically does not end the legal marriage, but establishes the conditions during the continuation of the marriage.

There are different legal requirements needed to receive an annulment of your marriage, although the outcome can be very similar to a divorce: The marriage will cease to exist, property and debts may be divided, spousal support or child support can be awarded, and decisions about joint children’s placement can be made. Likewise, the conditions of a legal separation often resemble a divorce, with the key distinction that a legal separation does not officially end the marital relationship. This means the spouses cannot marry other persons and are treated as “married” for income tax and other purposes.

While annulments and legal separations are used much less than divorce, they may be suitable alternatives in your particular case. Our attorneys can explain the different options and help you decide what may be the best approach for your situation.


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