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Annulment Basics in Texas

A couple may file for divorce when they can longer live together as spouses. In an annulment, one of the spouses believes the marriage was never valid. An annulment does not only end the marriage. It voids the marriage like it never existed.

What is an Annulment?

In Texas law, an annulled marriage is one that was not valid from the beginning, based on specific criteria. In annulled marriages, the parties can say they were never married to each other.

The Difference Between Divorce and Annulment

A divorce proceeding recognizes that the marriage was valid and has now ended. With an annulment, a court annuls a marriage when it recognizes that the union was never valid from the beginning.

What Are The Grounds for an Annulment in Texas?

Wishing you had never married someone does not satisfy the legal grounds for annulment in the Lone Star State. Even being under the influence of drugs or alcohol is also not grounds if you lived with the other person after you were both sober.

At Mathur Law Offices, our experienced lawyers can more fully explain annulment laws and how they relate to your specific case.

Like a marriage, an annulment suit has two parties. The petitioner is the one asking for the annulment. The other spouse is the respondent.

The laws about annulment are part of the Family Code. The code establishes the following grounds:

  • Underage Marriage. The court may annul the marriage of someone older than 16 but younger than 18 if the marriage occurred without parental consent. (A 16-year-old can legally marry in Texas with parental consent.) This annulment is filed by a parent, guardian, or friend and must be filed before their 18th birthday.
  • Under the Influence of Alcohol or Narcotics. An annulment might be granted if the petitioner was under the influence of alcohol or drugs, which rendered them incapable of consenting to the marriage.
  • Impotency. Either party being permanently impotent at the time of the marriage may be grounds for an annulment. The petitioner must not have known about the impotency at the time of the marriage and has not voluntarily lived with the respondent since finding out.
  • Fraud, Duress, or Force. The petitioner may be granted an annulment if the other party lied or hid something from them that is essential to the marriage. The court may also void the union if the petitioner was forced into the marriage.
  • Concealed Divorce. An annulment may be granted if the respondent hid the fact that they had divorced someone else within 30 days of the marriage to the petitioner. This ground is only valid until the first anniversary of the marriage.
  • Marriage Less than 72 Hours After License Issued. Texas law stipulates a 72-hour waiting period between the time a marriage license is issued and when the marriage can occur, with some exceptions. These grounds are only valid within the first 30 days of the marriage.
  • Bigamy. The marriage may be voided if the respondent was still legally married to someone else at the time they married the petitioner.
  • Related by Blood or Adoption. The petitioner may be granted an annulment if they are related by blood (whole or half) or adoption to the respondent. This includes brothers, sisters, a parent’s brother or sister, or the son or daughter of a brother or sister.
  • Stepparent or Stepchild. A marriage is void if a party is a current or former stepchild or stepparent of the other party.

What is The Annulment Process in Texas?

If you believe your marriage may be eligible for an annulment, your first step is to contact a lawyer who has specific experience in handling annulments. Mathur Law Offices has that experience as well as a dedication to giving every client the highest quality representation possible.

How to File for Annulment in Texas

We will file the suit in the district court of the county where you or the other party lives. Residency requirements do apply in annulment cases. Either you or your spouse must have lived in the Lone Star State for at least six months and in the county where you file for at least 90 days.

Texas codes allow the respondent to have a jury trial. In these cases, the hearing will take place with a jury of 12 residents from that county. If a trial isn’t requested, then you and your spouse will attend a hearing in front of a judge. It is important to have a skilled annulment lawyer effectively explain to the judge or jury the specifics behind your request for the annulment. The judge or the jury, depending on the type of hearing, will decide whether to void the marriage.

What Happens to Children of Voided Marriages?

If the judge or jury grants the annulment, their action in no way delegitimizes any children shared by the couple in a voided marriage. These children retain their right to inherit from either parent. Minor children also have the right to be financially supported by their parents. The judge can decide issues such as custody, visitation, child support, alimony, and property division.

What is a Religious Annulment?

The legal annulment described here is not the same as a religious annulment. Some religions do not recognize divorce. A religious annulment enables a member to remarry within that religious institution. Religious annulments do not void marriages in the eyes of the law. If you are seeking a religious annulment (usually after a legal divorce), contact your church leadership.

Annulment Attorney in Dallas

Timing is important for many annulment grounds. You could have only 30 days or one year after the date of the marriage. For underage marriages, these suits must be filed before they turn 18. It is important to file before any potential time limitations.

At Mathur Law Offices, we care about your best interests. Contact us today for an evaluation on whether your marriage qualifies for annulment. Use our online form or call (888) 867-5191 to speak with an annulment lawyer near you.

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