Divorce lawyers in Texas who are helping a client who is seeking a divorce can help them end a marriage in two ways: divorce or annulment.
Annulment is a way of voiding or canceling a marriage; however, it is only permitted in certain cases.
If you want to end your marriage and think that you qualify, an annulment may be an option if you and your divorce attorney can determine that your marriage that was never valid.
What Is An Annulment?
An annulment is a legal way to cancel or void what is considered to be an invalid marriage; it is different from a divorce, which is the process of ending a valid marriage.
Both can be done with the assistance of a divorce lawyer; however, an annulment may only be performed in Texas when the circumstances surrounding the marriage meet the grounds for annulment.
What Are the Grounds for Annulment in Texas?
In Texas, there are two categories of annulment grounds: void and voidable.
Void annulment grounds mean your marriage never was legal and must be declared void, which would include marriage to a blood relative, still being married to someone else; being unemancipated and under the age of 18; and marriages that took place less than 72 hours after the marriage license was issued.
According to divorce lawyers, voidable grounds for annulment in Texas mean that your marriage was legal; however, certain specific circumstances existed that you didn't know about and had you known about them, you would never have agreed to be married.
These types of marriages may or may not be found by the court to be grounds for an annulment.
Almost all of the following voidable grounds for annulment in Texas require that once the following information was revealed, the person petitioning for an annulment did not continue to live with the other party:
- Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs - One or both spouses married were under the influence and unable to really give consent.
- Fraud - One spouse misrepresented facts to the other spouse in order to influence that person about getting married.
- Force or Duress - A spouse was threatened and felt forced or threatened into marriage.
- Mental Incapacity - A spouse did not have the capacity to agree to a marriage and/or the other spouse was not aware of such incapacity.
- Impotence - A spouse was permanently unable to engage in sexual activity when the marriage took place and the other spouse was unaware of this.
- Divorced Less Than 30 days - If either spouse had been divorced less than 30 days prior to the wedding date and did not reveal this.
How Do You Get An Annulment?
Getting an annulment involves working with a divorce attorney who can file what is called a “A Suit to Declare Void the Marriage of [petitioner] and [respondent]” with the appropriate Texas district court.
You and your spouse can file together or you can file and have your spouse served with the petition for annulment.
The court and your lawyer will help you determine how to proceed if your spouse cannot be located.
Although the proceedings for obtaining an annulment are usually faster and less involved than a standard divorce, there are situations where getting an annulment also involves negotiation with divorce lawyers, division of property, and other details.
In addition, you or your spouse can request a jury trial for annulment in Texas.
What Happens After An Annulment?
After an annulment has been granted, your marriage is fully voided and recognized as never having happened in the first place, although any children who resulted from a voided marriage are still considered legitimate and have the same rights of children from valid marriages that ended through divorce.
Do You Have Grounds for Annulment?
Whether you have grounds to annul your marriage is best left to the experienced handling of lawyers who handle divorces for their clients.
Discuss your situation with a divorce attorney and determine whether there are grounds to declare that your marriage never happened.
Garza & Elizondo, LLP
680 East St. Charles St, Suite 600
Brownsville TX 78520
Meetings With Attorneys By Appointment Only
2395 La Palma Street, Suite A
San Benito TX 78586