While a divorce ends a valid marriage, an annulment is a type of lawsuit through which a party seeks to have the marriage declared invalid. When a judge grants an annulment, the marriage is found to never have legally existed at all. Bottom line: after an annulment, for all legal purposes, the marriage never happened.
In Texas, there are several grounds under which a person can obtain an annulment:
- A judge may grant an annulment if a person between 16 and 18 years of age gets married without parental consent or court order.
- A judge may grant an annulment if, at the time the marriage took place, a party was under the influence of drugs or alcohol such that they lacked the ability to consent to the marriage.
- A judge may grant an annulment if either party was permanently impotent at the time of marriage and the other party did not know this at the time.
- Fraud, duress, force. A judge may grant an annulment if a spouse convinced the other spouse to marry them using fraud, duress, or force.
- Mental capacity. A judge may grant an annulment if a spouse lacked the mental capacity to enter the marriage at the time it was entered into.
- Concealment of prior divorce. A judge may grant an annulment if the petitioner did not know, and a reasonable person would not have known, that the other party was divorced from a different person within 30 days before the date of marriage.
- A judge may grant an annulment if the spouses were married within 72 hours of the marriage license being issued.
Take note: a void marriage is different from an annulment. A void marriage is one that is automatically invalid, whether or not the court issues a determination regarding the issue. Examples of void marriages include instances where one spouse has not ended a previous marriage or where certain relatives are married.
If you have questions about whether you qualify for an annulment, please contact us today for more information.