Divorce vs. Annulment: What’s the Difference?
In Texas, there are two different ways to end a marriage: annulment and divorce. While annulments and divorces achieve the same goal, there are some differences between them.
What Is the Difference Between an Annulment and a Divorce?
An annulment is a legal procedure that essentially cancels a marriage. After an annulment, there will be no legal evidence that a marriage ever occurred.
A divorce is where the court determines a valid marriage did exist, but that it is now dissolved.
Who Qualifies for an Annulment in Texas?
The grounds for annulment and divorce also differ. For example, the grounds for an annulment include:
- Bigamy: This means one party was already married at the time of the marriage.
- Fraud: If your spouse misrepresents him or herself, for example, they don’t tell you that they’re a convicted felon, this could be a reason for an annulment.
- Mental incapacity: If you married while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you were unable to make informed consent. This means your marriage could be considered null.
- Underage marriage:Both parties must be over the age of 18 to marry without parental consent or court approval. Otherwise, the marriage isn’t lawful.
Other grounds, including mental illness and an incestuous relationship, are also situations where an annulment is justified.
How is divorce different? In Texas, you’re able to file for a divorce without a specific cause. This is called a no-fault divorce. Both parties agree to the divorce based on “irreconcilable differences.”
Should I Get an Annulment or a Divorce?
There aren’t any true legal benefits to obtaining an annulment instead of a divorce. Some couples choose annulments over traditional divorces due to religious reasons. Others choose annulments to erase the marriage for personal reasons.
In both annulments and divorces, property division is handled the same. The court will decide who receives which assets. They’ll also develop a parenting plan if you have minor children.
If you meet the requirements for an annulment, the choice is yours. Yet, we recommend reaching out to an attorney who can help you make the best decision for yourself and your family.
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