Sometimes, marriage feels like a big mistake. It doesn’t turn out as a person expected, and they wonder if it’s possible to have it undone. In Texas, the law allows for annulment of marriage in some cases. Here’s what you should know.
First, What Is an Annulment?
An annulment is a proceeding to have a marriage declared void – as if it never existed. An annulment is unlike a divorce, which is a proceeding to end a valid marriage. Annulment is like a divorce, however, in that courts will divide property and determine child custody, if necessary.
Grounds for an Annulment in Texas
There are several grounds for an annulment in Texas. The Texas Family Code says that courts can annul a marriage if:
- It happened without parental consent, and you’re at least 16 but not 18 years old yet. (If you are younger than 16, the law says that you were never able to legally get married in the first place.)
- You were under the influence of alcohol or drugs when you got married, and you haven’t lived together since the alcohol or drugs wore off.
- Your partner was permanently impotent at the time of the marriage, you didn’t know, and you have not lived together since you learned about the impotency.
- Your partner used fraud, duress or force to get you into the marriage. You must not have lived together since you discovered the fraud or the duress or force ended.
- Your partner didn’t have the mental capacity to consent to the marriage, you should have known about the mental incapacity, and you have not lived together since it was discovered.
- Your partner was divorced less than 30 days before your marriage, and you didn’t know. You must take legal action within a year of your wedding date, and you must not have voluntarily lived together since you found out.
Lawyers cite fraud as one of the most common reason courts grant annulments, simply because there are so many situations in which fraud can play a role. When one spouse lies about critical facts to trick another into marrying them, Texas courts have granted annulments.
Annulments have been granted in cases involving lies about a partner’s financial situation, a pregnancy that didn’t actually exist, or a child from another partner that wasn’t disclosed. Each situation is different, so it’s important to talk with an attorney about yours.
What’s Not Grounds for an Annulment?
There are some things, however, that are not grounds for an annulment (even though many people think they are):
- Being married less than one year
- Lack of parental permission or blessing (if you’re 18 or older)
Choose a Family Law Attorney Who Can Help
Think you might be eligible for a marriage annulment? Turn to a lawyer who can help you navigate the process. Get started by calling the Fort Worth divorce law office of the Schneider Law Firm, P.C., at 817-799-7125. Even if an annulment can’t be granted in your case, you may have other options. A lawyer can guide you through the divorce process or, in some cases, have a marriage voided because it never should have legally occurred.