How to Get an Annulment in Texas

Texas Annulment of Marriage

Marriage is a sacred vow between two individuals, meant to last a lifetime. However, sometimes circumstances arise where a marriage may not be as solid as it seems. The question may arise in such cases – can a marriage be declared void? The answer is yes, and this article will explore the ins and outs of how to have your marriage declared void in Texas.

An annulment legally voids your marriage in Texas, effectively declaring that it should never have been recognized. The court evaluates the circumstances before the wedding to determine if the union was valid. Following an annulment, you return to single status, as the marriage is considered never to have existed. Unlike a divorce, which ends a valid marriage, an annulment erases the marital record from a legal perspective.

What does a Void Marriage mean in Texas?

A void marriage is considered legally invalid from the very beginning. It differs from a voidable marriage, which is recognized as valid until annulled. Void marriages have significant legal implications, including property rights, inheritance, and child custody. Therefore, understanding the process of having a marriage declared void is crucial for those with concerns about the validity of their union.

Grounds for Annulment in Texas

According to Tex. Fam. Code §§ 6.102-6.111, there here are specific grounds recognized by Texas law for void marriages. These include:

1) Marriage performed when one of the parties was under 18.

In Texas, the legal age for marriage is 18. However, minors who are at least 16 years old can get married with parental consent or court approval. If one or both parties were underage and did not receive proper consent or approval, the marriage can be annulled.

2) Intoxication during the wedding.

If one or both parties were under the influence of drugs or alcohol during the wedding ceremony and have not lived together while sober since then, an annulment may be granted.

3) Impotence.

This reason for an annulment requires several requirements. First, one party must have been permanently impotent at the time of the marriage. Second, the other party must have been unaware of this impotency. Third, they must not have lived together after discovering the impotency.

4) Fraud or duress.

If one party was fraudulently induced or forced into the marriage, an annulment may be possible. This could include situations where a marriage was only entered into for immigration purposes or if one party was coerced into marriage.

5) Mental incapacity.

If one of the parties suffers from a mental illness or is unable to understand the nature of the marriage contract, an annulment may be granted.

6) Remarriage within 30 days of a previous divorce.

An annulment may be granted if one spouse was previously married and the current spouse was unaware of this fact. However, this only applies if the couple has not lived together since discovering the previous marriage.

7) Marriage occurred within 72 hours of obtaining a marriage license.

In Texas, there is a 72-hour waiting period between obtaining a marriage license and getting married. If a couple gets married before the 72 hours are up and files for annulment within 30 days, they may qualify for an annulment.

As you can see, the circumstances for obtaining an annulment in Texas are very specific and limited. In most cases, if you and your spouse have lived together even for a short time after getting married, you will not be able to get an annulment.

Many people mistakenly believe that they can get an annulment instead of a divorce if they file within six months or a year of getting married. This is not the case in Texas. An annulment is not just a quicker or easier version of divorce; it is a separate legal process with its own requirements.

Annulment Requirements and Limitations

  • Underage Marriage: If the marriage involves a minor aged 16 or 17 without parental consent, the court can annul the marriage. If parental consent was given, the marriage is considered valid.
  • Intoxication: If the couple continued to live together after the intoxicated party became sober, annulment may not be granted.
  • Impotence: The impotence must be permanent and incurable for the annulment to be considered.

If you believe your marriage falls under any of these categories, you may have grounds to declare it void. However, to do this, you will need to go through an annulment process.

Filing for Annulment

The annulment process involves filing a lawsuit in court, presenting your case, and obtaining a judgment from the court. Seeking legal counsel is necessary when pursuing an annulment or having your marriage declared void. An experienced family law attorney can guide you through the legal complexities, help you gather necessary evidence, and present a compelling case to the court.

To initiate an annulment, you must file a petition in the district court of the county where you reside and have lived for at least six months. The petition, titled “Suit to Declare Void the Marriage,” must be filed by the person seeking the annulment (the petitioner) against the other spouse (the respondent).

What Effect does Annulment have on Child Custody?

If the couple has biological or adopted children, a Suit Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship (SAPCR) will be joined with the annulment proceedings. This suit addresses custody, visitation, and child support, ensuring that the children’s welfare is managed appropriately. Given the complexities involved, particularly when children are part of the annulment process, consulting a knowledgeable family law attorney is highly recommended.

Although an annulment erases the marriage, it does not negate parental responsibilities or rights. The annulment does not absolve the parents of their obligation to support their children. The court will determine child support based on standard guidelines, considering each parent’s income and the child’s needs. Both parents retain their parental rights, and the annulment does not affect the legitimacy of children born during the annulled marriage.

Annulment and Property Rights in Texas

When a marriage is annulled, it is treated as though it never existed. Consequently, the division of property may differ from a typical divorce. Here are some key points:

  • Property Division: Since an annulment nullifies the marriage, the court might divide property based on ownership prior to the marriage rather than the community property rules that apply in divorce cases. Each party usually retains ownership of the property they brought into the marriage.
  • Financial Settlements: There may be less focus on financial settlements or alimony since the marriage is considered void from the start. Any financial disputes would need to be resolved based on the specifics of the annulment case and existing property laws.
  • Debt Responsibility: Similar to property, debts incurred during the marriage may also be treated individually rather than as community debts, depending on the court’s determination.

Legal representation is essential because voiding a marriage can significantly affect property rights and child custody. It’s crucial to have an attorney who understands these nuances and can protect your rights and interests throughout the process.

Ready to End an Invalid Marriage? Learn How to Get an Annulment in Texas Today

The Rudisel Law Firm team of dedicated attorneys is here to support and guide you through every step of the process. We offer complimentary consultations to discuss your case and provide personalized solutions tailored to your needs.

Remember, we are just one phone call away and here to help you with any legal matter you may face.

Breaking the vows of marriage is not an easy decision, but sometimes, it’s necessary for legal clarity and closure. If you are in such a situation, don’t hesitate to seek legal guidance and support. With the right legal team by your side, you can navigate the complexities of having your marriage declared void and move forward toward a brighter future. Call (713) 781-7775.