Annulement in Texas -How to declare a marriage null and void?

By | November 7, 2015


Marie’s Story

I first dated him during the final year of my graduation. We were colleagues and our relationship started with a friendship and eventually we fell for each other. Even though we were falling in love, I was determined that we weren’t going to have premarital sex. We got engaged and I loved him even more than before, but I never let down my determination. And then about a year of dating I was graduated and we were married. It was just a small private ceremony. And then, on our wedding night, well . . . I don’t know how to put this . . . I discovered that he was . . . impotent. How can I continue my relation with him? Can I get an annulment?”

Marie’s story is so bizarre, and it happened in a small town in Central Texas. This is an illustration of voidable marriage for which you can get an annulment in the Texas Court.

NOTE: By 2016, all the civil matters in Texas must be filed in the court electronically i.e. case should be e-filed. Most of the counties and district courts in Texas have implemented eFiling and remaining will be joining soon.

Marriage can either be void or voidable? These are just legal terms for the grounds that you must prove to get an annulment in Texas. Unfortunately, most people who are thinking of getting an annulment don’t meet the requirements, and end up getting a divorce. It is important to understand that a civil annulment is not the same thing as a religious annulment.

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So what are the grounds for annulment of a marriage in Texas? They’re divided into two different groups: void marriages and voidable marriages.

Void marriages are marriages that never could have been, and voidable marriages are marriages that never should have been.

VOID MARRIAGES

There are two grounds for declaring a marriage void in Texas:

  • Consanguinity
  • The existence of a prior marriage

Consanguinity means getting married to someone who is a relative. By that they mean a father or mother, a child, a brother or sister, an aunt or an uncle, a nephew or a niece. If you marry that close a relative, then you can seek an annulment to declare your marriage void.

You can also have your marriage declared void if your spouse was married to someone else when he/she married you. If you’re not single, you can’t enter into a marriage contract and the marriage is void.

But, if you stay married to the person and they dissolve their first marriage, then you automatically become married to them when the first marriage ends.

VOIDABLE MARRIAGES

Forced Consent

If one of the spouses was forced or threatened into marriage and only entered into it under duress, the marriage is voidable and you can claim for an annulment in the court.

Fraud

If one of the spouses agreed to the marriage based on the lies or misrepresentation of the other, the marriage is voidable. A Texas court won’t grant annulment for fraud, duress or force if the spouses continued to live together after the fraud was discovered or the duress or force was no longer present.

Mental Illness

If either spouse was mentally ill or emotionally disturbed at the time of the marriage, the marriage is considered voidable and it can be used as ground for an annulment.

Mental Incapacity

If either spouse was under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the marriage and was unable to make informed consent, you can ask the court for annulment.

Impotence

If either of spouses was physically incapable of having sexual relations or impotent during the marriage, it is a voidable marriage. The court won’t grant annulment if the spouse asking for annulment knew about the impotence at the time of marriage, or voluntarily lived with the impotent spouse since finding out.

Underage Marriage

If either spouse was too young to enter into marriage without parental consent or court approval. Once a spouse is 18, the spouse can’t file for an annulment based on being underage.

An annulment has to be filed by one of the spouses, unless one spouse is underage. If a spouse is underage, a parent or guardian can file for the annulment on their behalf. The legal age to get married in Texas is 18, or 16 with a parent’s consent or court order.

Concealed Divorce

Texas has a law that says that you can’t get married within 30 days after you get a divorce. Basically, that’s to give the other party a chance to get their paperwork from the divorce and reopen the case if they think they got screwed.

So, if your spouse got married to you less than 30 days after he/she got a divorce and there was no way that you could have known about that and you quit living with your spouse right after you found out, then you can get an annulment. But, you can’t get an annulment on these grounds after your first wedding anniversary.

Marriage Less Than 72 Hours After Issuance of the Marriage License

Texas requires people to wait at least 72 hours after they get their marriage license before they can get married. If you find out that your spouse didn’t wait those 72 hours, you can get an annulment

Note: You can’t file for an annulment under these grounds, if you’ve been married for more than 30 days.

So, these are the grounds for annulment under Texas family law. If you meet the requirements of any of them, then you can file for an annulment. If you don’t, you have to get a divorce.

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