Contrary to popular belief, filing for divorce is not the only way to legally end your marriage in Texas. Texas Family Code also recognizes an annulment when the marriage can be declared invalid.
Not all couples qualify for an annulment in Texas. You can get your marriage annulled if you can prove that your marriage was never valid in the first place. There are specific grounds for getting an annulment in Texas.
It is advisable to consult with a Waco divorce lawyer to discuss your particular situation and determine whether or not you can get your marriage annulled.
Divorce vs. Annulment: What’s the Difference?
If you want to put an end to your marriage, you have two options:
- File for divorce
- Get an annulment
But what’s the difference between the two? There are three biggest differences between divorce and annulment in Texas:
- Validity – In the vast majority of cases, couples get a divorce as long as their marriage was valid. If the couple should never have been married in the first place, they can get an annulment. In other words, the difference between a divorce and annulment is that the former ends a valid marriage, while the latter is only available when the marriage was never valid and should never have existed.
- Marriage-related issues – When you file for divorce, you and your spouse will have to resolve all marriage-related issues, including the division of property, alimony, child support, and child custody. Typically, couples do not need to resolve any issues to get an annulment unless the marriage lasted for a long time and the spouses have acquired community property or have children together.
- Grounds – While you can get a no-fault divorce in Texas, you need specific grounds to get your marriage annulled. You cannot qualify for an annulment if you do not have grounds to annul your marriage. We will talk about the grounds for an annulment below.
If you are considering getting an annulment because you believe that your marriage is not valid, discuss your situation with a divorce lawyer to understand your options.
What Are the Grounds for an Annulment in Texas?
You need to have grounds for an annulment to annul your marriage in Texas. Subchapter B of the Texas Family Code Chapter 6 recognizes seven grounds for an annulment:
- A spouse is under the age of 18. One of the spouses was under the age of 18 at the time of marriage and got married without parental consent or court order.
- Intoxication. If one or both spouses was impaired by alcohol or drugs at the time of the marriage and did not have the capacity to consent to the marriage.
- Impotency. One of the parties was permanently impotent at the time of the marriage, and the other spouse was not aware of this and did not voluntarily cohabitate with the impotent spouse after learning about their impotence.
- Fraud or duress. One spouse coerced the other to enter into the marriage by fraud or duress unless the spouse voluntarily cohabitated with them since learning about the fraud.
- Mental incapacity. One of the spouses lacked the mental capacity to consent to the marriage and did not voluntarily cohabitate with their spouse when they possessed the mental capacity to understand the nature of the marital relationship.
- Waiting period violations. The spouses organized a marriage ceremony during the 72-hour waiting period after the issuance of the marriage license.
- Concealed divorce. One of the spouses finalized their divorce from a third party within 30 days before the new marriage, and the other spouse did not reasonably know about the concealed divorce at the time of their marriage ceremony.
What Are the Requirements to Get Your Marriage Annulled in Texas?
Besides having grounds for annulment, you also need to meet the residency requirements to file for annulment in Texas. You can get your marriage annulled if the following requirements are met:
- You and/or your spouse have lived in Texas for the past six months or longer; and
- You and/or your spouse have lived in the county where you are filing for annulment for no less than 90 days.
If you are not sure where and how you can file for annulment, contact a lawyer to discuss your case.
Is There a Waiting Period for an Annulment in Texas?
As you may know, Texas has a mandatory waiting period from the date of filing an Original Petition for Divorce to the date when the spouses are eligible to finalize their divorce. The waiting period lasts 60 days, according to Texas Family Code § 6.702.
But is there a waiting period to annul your marriage in Texas? No, Texas law does not impose a waiting period between the date of filing a petition to annul a marriage and the date when the court can grant an annulment.
What’s the Difference Between a Void Marriage and Annulment?
While many people use the terms “declaring a marriage void” and “annulling a marriage” interchangeably, these two terms are slightly different. The similarity between these two processes is that both focus on why the marriage is not valid from the very beginning.
Unlike with annulment, declaring a marriage void prevents the spouses from agreeing to the marriage being valid. If your marriage is declared void by the court, it cannot be valid and should not exist. One of the most common reasons Texas courts declare marriages void is when one of the spouses was married to another person when the marriage started (Texas Family Code § 6.202).
How Much Will It Cost to Get Your Marriage Annulled?
It is practically impossible to estimate how much it will cost to get an annulment in Texas. However, spouses can substantially reduce the cost of their annulment case when they agree on all issues involved.
Contact a Lawyer to Talk About Your Case
If you believe that you have grounds for an annulment in Texas, do not hesitate to speak with a knowledgeable lawyer to discuss your options. Our Waco divorce lawyers at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard are prepared to help you convince the judge to declare your marriage invalid or void. Call 254-501-4040 to talk about your case with our skilled attorneys.