How Can You Have Your Marriage Found to Be Void in Texas

Let’s start today’s blog post on questions about annulment in Texas online with a story. I recently spoke with a woman who told me about a man that she had dated in high school. After high school, the relationship continued. Both she and her boyfriend began to work at the same business here in Houston.

Given her young age and her religious upbringing, she was against having premarital sex. Her boyfriend’s respect for her decision didn’t really become an issue in their relationship until they got married. On their wedding night and during the following couple days it became obvious that her new husband was impotent. This came as a shock to our potential client.

This nice lady wanted to know simply if she is able to get out of the marriage. She asked whether or not she could get an annulment. This is an issue that has major importance for some of you out there. However, it is one that we do not write about all that much. With all of that said let’s dig into it further today.

Annulments in Texas- how to determine if you are eligible for one?

Fortunately for the young lady in the above story, I was able to answer her. Yes, she was likely eligible to get an annulment due to her marriage being void. It is quite difficult to actually qualify for an annulment. Most folks who attempt to get an annulment end up having to settle for a divorce. It is a longer and more detailed process even for a marriage that lasted only a month or so.

Texas categorizes the grounds for annulment into two categories: void and voidable marriages.

Void marriages are those that are not valid due to issues regarding consanguinity or the existence of a prior marriage. Consanguinity is a fancy word for when a person marries a relative. Relative means a person who is a “close” relative like a sibling, parent, uncle, aunt, niece or nephew. If this is the case for you and your marriage then you can get an annulment.

If either you or your spouse were already married at the time of the marriage, it serves as another ground for obtaining an annulment based on a void marriage. While these issues don’t arise frequently, they are worth mentioning as potential grounds for declaring a marriage void.

What is a putative spouse?

If your spouse was already married when you got married, the law considers you a putative spouse. This is provided you had no reason to suspect your marriage was invalid. As a putative spouse, you can claim what would typically be community property in a valid marriage.

However, exercise caution. Your right to recover property in this quasi-property division situation ceases once you learn that your spouse was already married when you married them. You can only recover property from the period starting with your (void) marriage until you discovered your spouse’s prior marriage.

Exploring Voidable Marriages: Easier Grounds for Annulment?

Voidable marriages involve a little more wiggle room in terms of being able to make an argument. Consanguinity and already being married at the time you were getting married to another person are tough points to argue. Either those factors are relevant or they are not. Voidable marriages allow you to make an argument which leads me to believe that they are easier grounds on which to get your annulment.

Let’s start off with two unfortunate situations that can lead to an annulment. If either you or your spouse are found to be mentally incapacitated or have a significant mental illness, the court can declare the marriage voidable. Mental incapacity basically means that you or your spouse were under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time your marriage began. This ground is based on the premise that if you were intoxicated, you would be unable to consent to marriage.

Understanding Fraud in Voidable Marriages

Next, let’s discuss fraud as another ground for potentially declaring a marriage voidable. If you were forced, threatened, or otherwise coerced into getting married, your marriage may be considered voidable. What sort of circumstances avail themselves most often to fraud? Well, if your spouse coerced you into a marriage with a threat of you losing your residency in the United States that may be grounds for an annulment. Being blackmailed or threatened into marriage to prevent a painful or embarrassing secret from being revealed could also serve as the basis for an allegation of fraud.

Impotence is a ground that we have already covered. If either you or your spouse is found incapable of having sexual intercourse or fulfilling the role in the reproductive process, the marriage may be declared voidable. Keep in mind that if you are the one asking for the annulment you must have left the marital home as soon as you found out about the impotence. If you remained in the home voluntarily then it is likely that a court would not grant your annulment request.

After your divorce, wait thirty days to get married

The law in Texas is that if you get a divorce you must then wait for thirty days until you can marry again. A motion for a new trial can be filed in a civil case if you file within thirty days of the final judgment in your case.

This means that if you are marrying a person who recently got a divorce you must wait until your spouse-to-be’s ex-spouse has time to file a motion for a new trial if he or she chooses. You need to get your annulment before your first wedding anniversary or you lose the right to pursue an annulment on these grounds.

After you obtain your marriage license, wait three days to get married

Similarly, the law in Texas requires that you and your spouse wait at least 72 hours after you obtain a marriage license to actually get married. The failure to do so could result in a voidable marriage should one of you raise that issue to a court.

Issues to be concerned with when attempting to obtain an annulment

Finally, you need to think about any property/assets that you have with your “spouse” including your home, bank accounts, debts, and vehicles. Mortgages and credit cards could become points of argument when you eventually leave your marital home.

Other than the protections afforded to a putative spouse the Texas Family Code does not cover any property division for those who are seeking an annulment. You will need to work with your partner on how to divide the property up between yourselves. Seeking assistance through a mediator is not a bad idea. Consider the difficulties of removing a person’s name from a title document or refinancing a loan.

Where to begin when considering an annulment? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan

As you can tell, the first step towards pursuing an annulment is to actually see if you qualify. Your circumstances may not be straightforward and you may need to speak to someone with experience in family law to determine if it is even worth your while to pursue an annulment as opposed to a divorce.

If you are interested in speaking with an experienced and seasoned group of attorneys then you need to look no further than those with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC. Our attorneys handle a variety of family law cases including divorces. We take pride in representing people in our community just like you. To learn more about your case and about our office please do not hesitate to contact us today. We offer free of charge consultations six days a week where we can answer your questions and address your concerns in a comfortable and pressure-free environment.

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  1. Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Void Marriage in Texas
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Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC | Houston, Texas Divorce Lawyers

The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC routinely handles matters that affect children and families. If you have questions regarding divorce, it’s important to speak with one of our Houston, TX Divorce Lawyers right away to protect your rights.

Our divorce lawyers in Houston TX are skilled at listening to your goals during this trying process and developing a strategy to meet those goals. Contact 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 Divorce 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.

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