In the state of Texas, marriages are usually dissolved through the granting of a divorce. It is possible that some marriages may qualify for an annulment, rather than an actual divorce, based on the circumstances under which a couple was married. An knowledgeable divorce attorney can explain to a client that before a divorce can be granted, it must be determined if the marriage was actually valid; if not, an annulment may be issued. Although it sounds unlikely, an experienced attorney who handles divorcing couples has learned that there are more invalid marriages than many clients would think. In these situations, filing for an annulment with the help of an experienced divorce lawyer may be the better option.
What Is An Annulment?
As a knowledgeable lawyer can explain, an annulment is the cancellation of a marriage that is not considered to be valid by the courts, and should not have taken place to begin with. Since these marriages are technically considered as not being legal, they do not qualify for a divorce and must be annulled.
What Circumstances Call for Annulment?
As an experienced divorce lawyer knows, there are a number of circumstances that qualify for annulment due to an invalid marriage. Some of those reasons include: underage marriages, marriages entered into while intoxicated, incestuous marriages, forced marriages, bigamy, and fraudulent marriages where certain information was withheld from one spouse by the other. Marriages involving impotence, mental health problems, and other concerns may also qualify for annulment.
Some of these circumstances involve time limits, so it is important to discuss the situation with a divorce attorney to determine whether or not an annulment is possible. If it is determined that a spouse was aware of the invalidating circumstance but continued to live with the other spouse, an annulment may not be possible.
Why Get An Annulment Instead of A Divorce?
In some of the above circumstances, an annulment is required to dissolve a marriage. In other situations, such as fraud, impotence, mental health issues and similar issues, a spouse may ask for either a divorce or annulment. No-fault divorces are preferred; however, when one spouse does not want a divorce, the other spouse can file for an annulment if the marriage meets the specifications. Additionally, some people may choose an annulment over a divorce to avoid any stigma they perceive with being divorced, such as religious beliefs, etc. Proving grounds for annulment can be challenging, even for an experienced divorce attorney.
What Happens After Annulment?
An annulment is the legal “slate cleaning” for a marriage, meaning that according to the law, the marriage never existed. Spouses can legally state they were never married, although spouses may still be required to deal with divorce-related concerns, such as division of property, child custody, and child support. Children born to parents of an invalid marriage are still entitled to the same considerations as those from a valid marriage.
Anyone seeking a divorce in Texas should discuss their individual circumstances with an experienced divorce lawyer, and determine whether a divorce or an annulment is their best option. In cases where a person qualifies for either a divorce or an annulment, an attorney can point out the pros and cons of each, and suggest which way is most beneficial for their circumstances.
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