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How Can You Have Your Marriage Found to be Void in Texas?

A void marriage is invalid from its very beginning. There are facts and circumstances present in your relationship which prevent it from being established. As opposed to a divorce, a suit to declare a marriage void makes it so the marriage never happened in the first place.

Having your marriage declared void is a relief in many regards. However, a void marriage puts your children in a difficult position. Their entire conception of their family life came about based on a relationship that never existed. Additionally, there are property considerations to bear in mind. Community property laws don’t apply to people who are not legally married. Your ability to retire comfortably, have money to spend, and have assets to your name depend in large part on those community property laws.

Void marriage and its impact on children and property

Children naturally born or adopted by you and your “spouse” during the marriage matter a great deal in suits to declare a marriage void. When you file a suit to declare your marriage void you need to also file a Suit Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship. This suit establishes orders regarding custody, conservatorship, possession, visitation, access, and child support.

When it comes to the property owned by you and your “spouse” then there are going to be additional considerations to bear in mind. The court will ask itself two questions based on the evidence presented in a trial. First, did you marry the respondent (other party) in good faith? This boils down to whether you did not know about the facts which render your marriage void. The other factor a court would look to is whether you knew the facts that make your marriage void. Therefore, community property protections do not apply to you.

Property rights and suits to determine marriage void

Entering a marriage with no knowledge of the facts that render the marriage void means you are a putative spouse. Putative spouses have similar property rights as divorcing spouses. Community property laws do not apply to spouses who know the voidable conditions in the relationship. Spousal maintenance is not awarded in suits involving spouses who knowingly entered a void marriage.

How will your court view you as a putative spouse?

A putative spouse means judging you as having a good faith belief that your marriage was valid from its inception. When you know about the conditions or facts that would render your marriage void you are not a putative spouse. There was no good faith in your situation when you entered your marriage.

Evidence must be submitted into the record by you and your opposing party to back up your contentions. The marriage certificate obtained before your marriage, testimony regarding the marriage ceremony itself, and information regarding whether you lived with your “spouse” will be considered by the judge.

How long must you live in Texas to void your marriage?

The rules for filing for divorce in Texas do not apply to filing a suit to void your marriage. Filing to void your marriage in Texas has only two requirements. The first is you or your spouse must live in Texas. Or, if neither of you live in Texas, then you must have been married in Texas. It makes sense to file your petition in the county where all or most of the events of the marriage took place. Or, in the county where most of the acts that led to the voiding of the marriage occurred.

When in doubt, call the county or district clerk for your county to find out where to file your petition to void a marriage. The skilled and experienced family law attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan are also equipped to help guide you in this regard. The first step of a journey is the toughest. You do not need to start yours alone. Working with an attorney from the Law Office of Bryan Fagan is what you need to consider currently.

There is no waiting period for having your marriage voided

Once you file your petition to void your marriage it is normal to wonder how long you need to wait for the petition to be granted. A hearing is set after the petition to void your marriage is filed. You will provide notice of both the lawsuit having been filed and the upcoming hearing date to your opposing party. Different courts have different schedules, so it is important to keep this in mind.

Is a suit to void a marriage and a divorce the same thing?

A divorce ends a valid marriage. Filing a suit to void a marriage seeks to make it so that the marriage never existed in the first place. It will be as if you and the other person were never married at all. A divorce does not legally make it so the marriage does not occur. You will still have been married to your spouse for whatever length of time you were married. However, the divorce will end your marriage, legally speaking.

How are an annulment and a suit to void a marriage different?

Both suits to void marriage and annulments seek to convince a court that your marriage was never valid to begin with. However, the key difference between the two is that a void marriage was never valid from the start. On the other hand, an annulment does not seek to void the marriage but rather end it based on specific grounds.

Four grounds exist to declare a marriage void in Texas. The first is incest. This is marrying a person within the third degree of consanguinity. Immediate family members up to second cousins, in other words, are off limits for marrying in Texas. Second, bigamy exists as the next ground to base your suit to void a marriage on. Bigamy is being married to more than one person at a time. Meaning- if you were married to one person and then married a second person, the second marriage was void.

Being under the age of 18 (by either party to the marriage) is the third ground for declaring a marriage void in Texas. Stepparents and stepchildren are not able to marry in Texas. Whether you are currently a stepchild/stepparent, or not, this is a voidable marriage.

The rights of a putative spouse

Recall that a putative spouse is an innocent spouse in all of this. Qualifying as a putative spouse means that you did not know the conditions that would render your marriage void. When a court declares a marriage to be void that means that your good faith saves the day for you and your rights. There are protections under the law when it comes to support and property for married people. Being a putative spouse allows you to assert those rights.

As a putative spouse, you have property rights. Being in a position where you are protected from losing your claim to certain property is important. Property acquired during your marriage is community property and thus divisible under Texas law. A void marriage would otherwise mean that the community property laws of Texas do not apply to your relationship. However, the putative spouse doctrine allows these laws to apply even though yours is not a valid marriage and never has been.

Working with an experienced family law attorney with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan is the key to this discussion. We know how to handle situations such as this with you and your family. This is an emotional and difficult time for you. We walk with clients just like you every day through tough legal circumstances. Our guidance allows you to make good decisions for yourself now and in the future.

Help with getting the suit filed

Knowing what it means to be in a void marriage is one thing. Being able to do something about it is an entirely different subject altogether. Filing a lawsuit is not something that is covered in high school or college. You don’t just naturally know how to start this process. In other words- you need help. The attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan are here to help you. We are experienced in family law. It is what we do. Also, we file suits to void marriages. The specific process involved is something we know of.

There are multiple steps in the process of filing a lawsuit to declare your marriage void. Fear not, however. We at the Law Office of Bryan Fagan are here to walk with you through these steps. This is not an impossible situation. This is a situation where you need to know the law and follow the process, however. That is where we come in. Receiving help in a time like this is what you need to succeed. Overlooking the details of your case and proceeding on your own puts your family in a tough position.

Filing the petition to void your marriage

The document which begins your suit to void the marriage is known as a petition to void a marriage. This petition must state one of the four grounds for a voidable marriage- incest, bigamy, stepparent/child, and/or a party being under 18 when the marriage began. A hearing will be scheduled. You and the opposing party must attend the hearing. You will present evidence at this hearing to substantiate your allegation as to why the marriage is void. A judge will review all admitted evidence and decide about the validity of your marriage.

When a judge declares your marriage to be void it will issue an order stating that. From there, a finding that you are a putative spouse results in additional rulings on property, child support, and other subjects. The position that you do not want to be in is one where your marriage is declared void, and you are left with no property. Being an innocent spouse in all of this is essential proof. This is how you walk out of a void marriage with your life intact.

Conder contacted the Law Office of Bryan Fagan today. We have multiple office locations in the Houston area. Additionally, we recently opened an office in San Antonio. The purpose of opening these offices is to meet the needs of our clients. Wherever you are we have an office that can meet your needs and help you and your family. Reach out to us today and schedule a free-of-charge consultation.

How to prove good faith in a void marriage case

Ultimately, you need to be asking how to prove that you were a good-faith spouse. This good faith is essential to being declared a putative spouse in this void marriage lawsuit. Obtaining a marriage license from the county where you reside is good evidence for this. Being able to show that you moved forward with the marriage as if it were valid shows good faith. That you resided with your “spouse” and held out to others that yours was a marriage is additional proof of good faith.

As with any family law case, a court considers all the evidence available to it at the time of your hearing. A void marriage lawsuit is incredibly fact-specific. This means that you need to be able to put together a timeline of events that can help the judge understand better how you entered the marriage. Being unable to do so would result in the court finding yours to be a valid marriage. There are consequences attached to a marriage finding versus a void marriage finding.

Where do you go from here?

A void marriage lawsuit ties together a relationship, difficult facts, and ultimately a conclusion. Whether that conclusion is favorable to you depends upon those facts. It also depends upon your representation. An experienced family law attorney with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan has what it takes to protect you and your rights. No two cases are the same and the Law Office of Bryan Fagan and our attorneys treat each client of ours with respect and dignity.

Being in a void marriage is like reaching out for something and discovering it was never there in the first place. There are impacts to your life in multiple areas depending upon the facts presented in your case. A void marriage case boils down to protecting your rights. Additionally, the rights of your child matter a great deal in this case.

Finding out that your marriage is void can be a shock to your system. Going through life with one mindset on your relationship only to find that your marriage is not what it seemed is difficult. However, you cannot sit idly by and expect the situation to fix itself. Rather, you need to be able to do something about it proactively. Learning how to file a lawsuit involving your void marriage is the most direct way to do this.

What can you expect in a consultation with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan?

One of the big concerns that people have in your position is to figure out where to start. There is so much going on in a case like this one. What should you do when you realize you have a potential problem on your hands?

First, consider your representation options. Coming to speak to an experienced family law attorney with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan does not tie you down to hiring our office. Rather, these consultations are free-of-charge, no-obligation meetings. You share with us what is going on in your life. We provide you with information and feedback. It’s that simple.

From there, you will be empowered to make wise decisions for yourself as far as how to best proceed with your family law case. Want to hire an attorney? Reach out to us and we will go over any questions you have about hiring our office. We strive to be accountable and accessible to our clients. We know that your case does not stop mattering just because it’s after 5 pm. Working with our attorneys provides you with an accountable and diligent representative.

Interested in learning more about the Law Office of Bryan Fagan? Reach out to us today

Thank you for spending time with us here on the blog for the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. We take seriously the responsibility we have for our clients. We would be honored to speak to you about your situation and how we can best help and serve you during this time in your life.

A void marriage is just the beginning of the process for you. There are additional steps that need to be taken to fix the situation and move on with your life. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan is here to serve you during this time.

Questions about the material contained in today’s blog post? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan

If you have any questions about the material contained in today’s blog post, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our licensed family law attorneys offer free-of-charge consultations six days a week in person, over the phone, and via video. Interested in learning more about how your family is impacted by the material in this blog post? Contact us today.

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