The parties married in India by ceremonial marriage. They moved to Washington State, and subsequently separated. The Wife sought to annul the marriage, while the Husband sought a divorce. The issue was ultimately whether their Indian marriage was void under Indian law. The trial court concluded that the Husband provided sufficient evidence that indicated their marriage was “registered” in India after the ceremony (which the Wife contests), as required by Indian law. The trial court concluded, alternatively, that even if it were not registered, the parties effectively ratified their marriage by subsequent conduct. On appeal, the Court of Appeals further reviewed the parties’ submissions of the Indian Special Marriage Act of 1954. Section 16 of this Act, referenced by the Wife, requires all marriages to be registered, but does not specifically state that unregistered marriages are void or voidable. Instead Sections 24 and 25 of this Act list circumstances that render a marriage void or voidable, and neither section refers to unregistered marriages. This compares to Washington State law, which requires parties to obtain a marriage license prior to the ceremony, but does not render the marriage void or voidable if the parties did not obtain the license.
Therefore, the trial court’s opinion is affirmed. The parties entered into a valid marriage in India.