One of the least common family law cases that attorneys and courts run into are annulments. Divorces, child custody cases, and even adoptions are more prevalent than annulments. Let’s spend today’s blog post discussing this subject and the grounds for achieving an annulment in Texas instead of a divorce.
What Exactly Is an Annulment?
The court is legally terminating the marriage between yourself and your spouse in a divorce. This isn’t taking an eraser to the wedding; it’s more or less crossing out the union on a piece of paper. The marriage is still in the record books, but it is no longer valid.
On the other hand, an annulment actively dissolves a marriage due to its initial invalidity and the fact that it should never have been granted. This process erases the marriage, achieving what a divorce cannot. However, obtaining an annulment proves more challenging than a divorce, as the grounds required for an annulment are more difficult to satisfy.
Void vs. Voidable Marriage- Why This Distinction Is Important
Texas recognizes avoidable marriages as valid until a court grants an annulment and declares them invalid. For instance, a marriage where the parties were under the influence of drugs or alcohol during the vow exchange is avoidable. This marriage remains legally valid until annulled.
Conversely, Texas never recognizes a void marriage as valid or legal. A typical instance is when one spouse remains married to another person during the marriage ceremony, rendering the relationship legally invalid and without standing.
An Annulment- Easier Said Than Done
In most cases, securing an annulment proves more challenging than one might expect. Although specific situations may qualify for an annulment, you must present evidence to a court to secure the dissolution.
The remainder of this blog post will detail the grounds that parties may cite for their reason for asking for the annulment.
Marriage of Person Under the age of 18
A court may grant an annulment if one of the parties, aged 16 or 17, marries without parental consent. However, if a party is under 16, the law considers the marriage void, eliminating the need for an annulment since the marriage holds no legal validity. A parent or legal guardian must file for the annulment before the minor turns 18.
One or both parties to the marriage were under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
This is perhaps the most well-known ground for asking for an annulment. There have been so many TV and movie plots surrounding this scenario that we could spend all day listing them. A person under the influence of drugs or alcohol cannot consent to the marriage, rendering the marriage void.
However, a key point to understand is that you cannot argue that the marriage is voidable on the grounds of intoxication if you have been living with your spouse since the time of the origination of the wedding. Therefore, it probably is not a good idea to shack up or continue to shack up with your spouse if you seek to annul the marriage on these grounds.
If you or your spouse were impotent at the time of your marriage, you can present evidence of this to secure an annulment in Texas. If you are the spouse seeking the dissolution, you must prove that you were unaware of the importance of your partner at the time of your marriage and must also show that you have not been living with your spouse since having found out about the impotence.
Fraud, Duress, or Force
A shotgun marriage will not suffice. If your spouse forced you or otherwise used duress or fraud to induce you into a wedding, you can request an annulment. Again- do not live with your spouse since you became aware of the fraud or after the force or coercion ended.
You or your spouse can actively seek an annulment if either of you was mentally incapacitated at the time of the marriage. To prove the incapacity, you or your spouse must prove to a court that you could not consent to the wedding. Since the marriage took place, you had not lived together during a time when either of you gained the ability to recognize and agree to the wedding. If basing the annulment on the incapacity of the other spouse, you must show that you were unaware of the mental incapacity of your spouse during the time of the marriage.
You can also annul your marriage if you can show a court that your spouse got a divorce immediately before your wedding began and that you had no clue about your spouse’s prior marriage or divorce. Additional requirements include the divorce has occurred within 30 days before marrying you. You must bring your annulment action before your first anniversary of marriage. Here’s a shocker- you can’t have lived with your spouse since finding out about the prior marriage and divorce.
Getting married 72 hours after obtaining your marriage license
You must wait at least 72 hours to receive your marriage license. If you did not, the marriage is voidable as long as your annulment petition is filed within thirty days of your wedding.
Questions about annulments? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, today.
To find out whether you qualify for an annulment or to get an answer to any other question related to family law in Texas, don’t hesitate to get in touch with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC. A free-of-charge consultation with one of our licensed family law attorneys is only a phone call away.
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Other Articles you may be interested in:
- Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Texas Annulment
- How an annulment is different than a divorce in Texas
- Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Common Law Marriage and Divorce
- Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Texas Marriage
- Frequently Asked Questions in Texas Divorce Cases
- 15 Myths About Divorce in Texas
- 9 Questions to Ask Yourself and the Divorce Lawyer Before You Hire Them
- Common Questions about Texas Prenuptial and Marital Agreements
- Should I sign a Texas Premarital or Prenuptial Agreement?
- My Fiancé wants me to sign a Texas Prenup. What should I do?
- Making Postnuptial Agreements Stick in a Texas Divorce
- Can I sue my spouse’s mistress in Texas?
Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC | Annulment, Texas Divorce Lawyers
The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, routinely handles matters that affect children and families. If you have questions regarding annulments, it’s essential to speak with one of our Houston, TX Annulment Lawyers right away to protect your rights.
Our Annulment lawyers in Houston, TX, are skilled at listening to your goals during this trying process and developing a strategy to meet those goals. Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC by calling (281) 810-9760 or submit your contact information in our online form. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC handles annulment cases in Houston, Texas, Cypress, Klein, Humble, Kingwood, Tomball, The Woodlands, the FM 1960 area, or surrounding areas, including Harris County, Montgomery County, Liberty County, Chambers County, Galveston County, Brazoria County, Fort Bend County, and Waller County.
Bryan Fagan, a native of Atascocita, Texas, is a dedicated family law attorney inspired by John Grisham’s “The Pelican Brief.” He is the first lawyer in his family, which includes two adopted brothers. Bryan’s commitment to family is personal and professional; he cared for his grandmother with Alzheimer’s while completing his degree and attended the South Texas College of Law at night.
Married with three children, Bryan’s personal experiences enrich his understanding of family dynamics, which is central to his legal practice. He specializes in family law, offering innovative and efficient legal services. A certified member of the College of the State Bar of Texas, Bryan is part of an elite group of legal professionals committed to ongoing education and high-level expertise.
His legal practice covers divorce, custody disputes, property disputes, adoption, paternity, and mediation. Bryan is also experienced in drafting marital property agreements. He leads a team dedicated to complex family law cases and protecting families from false CPS allegations.
Based in Houston, Bryan is active in the Houston Family Law Sector of the Houston Bar Association and various family law groups in Texas. His deep understanding of family values and his professional dedication make him a compassionate advocate for families navigating Texas family law.