Let’s start today’s blog post from the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC 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 as 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 respected her decision and the issue never really came up in their relationship until the two 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 and whether or not she could get an annulment. This is an issue that has major importance for some of you out there and 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 tell her that, 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 and 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.
The grounds for an annulment in Texas are divided up between 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.
The other ground for getting an annulment based on a void marriage is if you or your spouse were already married at the time you got married. The truth is neither of these issues ever come up very often but they merit mentioning here as possible grounds to get a marriage declared void.
What is a putative spouse?
If your spouse was already married at the time that you and he got married then you are known as a putative spouse as long as you have no reason to believe that your marriage is not valid. You would have the ability to receive somewhat would ordinarily be known as community property had you entered into a valid marriage with your spouse.
A word of caution- your right to recover property under a quasi-property division situation ends once you have reason to know that your spouse was married at the time you and he got married. Your ability to recover property is limited to the time beginning at the start of your (void) marriage and when you found out about your spouse’s prior marriage’s existence.
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 you or your spouse are determined to be mentally incapacitated or have a mental illness that is significant you can have your marriage determined to be voidable. Mental incapacity basically means that you or your spouse were under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time your marriage began. The basis for this ground is that if you were intoxicated you would be unable to consent to become married.
Fraud is the next ground that we need to discuss as far as having a marriage declared voidable. If you were forced, threatened or otherwise coerced into getting married then your marriage may be 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. If you were blackmailed or otherwise threatened into getting married in order to avoid a painful or embarrassing secret from being let out, that too could form the basis for a fraud allegation.
Impotence is a ground that we have already covered. If either you or your spouse is found to be unable to have sexual intercourse or incapable of fulfilling your role in the reproductive process of having a child then your marriage may be declared as 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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Other Articles you may be interested on regarding Adultery
- Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Void Marriage in Texas
- Can I Get My Ex-wife's New Marriage Terminated or Voided?
- Can I sue my spouse's mistress in Texas?
- When is, Cheating Considered Adultery in a Texas Divorce?
- Sex, Lies, Rock-and-roll, and Adultery in a Texas Divorce
- When is, Cheating Considered Adultery in a Texas Divorce?
- Can I Sue My Spouse for Mental Abuse in My Texas Divorce?
- 6 things You Need to Know Before You File for Divorce in Texas
- Texas Divorce Morality Clause: Be Careful What You Ask For
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.