I was fortunate to meet with a young lady this past week who came to our office to ask some questions regarding the possibility of getting an annulment from her husband. Her circumstances don't need to be discussed in detail here but suffice it to say that she was no longer wanted to be married to her husband. The marriage was less than two months old, and she learned some information about him that caused her to believe that she could get an annulment rather than go through with a divorce.
A typical response people give to the annulment question is that it is difficult to get an annulment in Texas. An annulment is essentially an eraser to the pencil marks that are a marriage license. The marital relationship is voided, and the legal effect is that it never happened. It's a second chance to review your situation and circumstances to avoid a lifelong commitment you are unwilling to take on.
How big of a mistake did you have to make to have an annulment granted?
Fraud is the number one reason why annulments are granted in Texas. If you believe that your spouse misrepresented a critical fact, or failed to reveal information that would have caused you not to marry them, then you can present this information to a judge.
The necessary detail regarding annulments is that it is a best-case scenario. It allows you to jump into a time machine and go back to the moment right before you said, "I do," and instead say, "I don't." On the other hand, a divorce does not void your marriage but terminates it. There will still be a record of your wedding, and a division of community property, debts, and issues with your children will still need to be dealt with.
Judges should not have any preconceived notions regarding whether or not to grant you an annulment. As with any family law case, the facts will dictate whether or not it is presented. As I stated a moment ago, fraud is the number one basis (in my experience) that people ask for and receive annulments. Deception is the key. If you relied on a deception made by your spouse that directly resulted in your being willing to marry them, you might have grounds for an annulment.
Here are some examples that I have come up with to show you some situations that could result in your annulment petition being granted. However, I realize that your particular circumstances may not match up perfectly with what I have outlined here. If that is true, I would recommend that you contact the attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, to discuss your case with us and go over the specific issues you are facing.
Examples of situations where an annulment may- or may not- be granted.
Consider a situation where a wife is a businesswoman who earns a substantial amount of money annually. Her work leads her to keep long hours where she is not home often and keeps long hours at the office. After chatting online with a man, the two meet up, and a mutual attraction occurs. After just a few more dates, she and the man get married quickly in a civil ceremony.
Now that the marriage has been in place for a few weeks, it becomes painfully apparent that the man married our businesswoman for a green card. He did not disclose that he was a foreign national who needed to marry to remain in the country. I believe that an annulment would be granted in this type of situation. The woman may have rushed into the marriage without knowing the full extent of the husband's plan and purpose behind getting married. He withheld information that was important and relevant to the topic of marriage.
Annulment Situation Number Two
Situation number two- let's consider the man's situation as a successful online entrepreneur. His girlfriend is aware of this and pushes a marriage without much time for an engagement. On top of this, the girlfriend tells him that she is completing a degree in business and has a good job lined up with a company whose headquarters is in downtown Houston. Upon receiving these assurances from the girlfriend, our internet mogul agrees to marry her.
Once they tied the knot, it became apparent that his wife never wanted to finish her degree. She dropped out of school. After college, the excellent job she had lined up for was wholly made up. Her days were consumed with watching television and chatting on social media websites. Our husband wants out of the marriage. I have seen this case come back as an annulment, believe it or not.
Annulment Situation Number Three
Suppose that a young woman worked as part of a successful family business. Her boyfriend proposed marriage and stated that he intended to work alongside her and her family in the industry. The young woman's parents were wise and let their daughter know they smelled something fishy and told her not to marry him. She did not listen and instead moved forward with the marriage.
During the engagement and the initial months of the marriage, the husband was secretly dating a former girlfriend in another part of the state. Eventually, he left his wife to be with his girlfriend. Again, in this situation, it could be argued that the woman was fraudulently induced to enter into the marriage.
What are some other reasons why you could be granted an annulment?
If you were under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of your marriage and you have not lived with your spouse since you sobered up, then you could theoretically get a marriage annulled. I say theoretically because I have not seen a circumstance where this has occurred in my years as a family law attorney. Have I seen people get married while intoxicated and then see one of the spouses come to tell me they regret it? Yes. Usually, though, they will not know the requirement for an annulment on these grounds, and they will return to the home they shared.
If you or your spouse was impotent at the time of your marriage but did not disclose it to the other spouse? This can be the basis of an annulment in Texas, but keep in mind that the non-impotent spouse must have moved out of the marital home as soon as that fact was discovered.
I'll run through the other ways that an annulment can be granted. If you or your spouse lacked the mental capacity to enter into the marriage (to agree to be married, basically), then an annulment can be granted. If one of you were under the age of 16, then you have a void marriage, and it was never legitimate to begin with since a person under 16 cannot consent to be married, even with the permission of a parent. If you or your spouse were either 16 or 17 at the time of your marriage, then you needed permission from your parent(s) to get married. Without it, an annulment is possible. Finally, suppose you got married within thirty days of divorce (you or your spouse's divorce) or married within 72 hours of your marriage license being issued. In that case, you qualify statutorily for an annulment in Texas.
Questions about annulments? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC
If you have any questions about annulments or other issues related to family law in Texas, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC. We offer free consultations with a licensed family law attorney six days a week. We can answer your question and address whatever problems you need assistance with within a comfortable, pressure-free environment.