Annulment of Marriage in Texas

Legally ending a marital union may be done either through petitioning for divorce or through annulment. Divorce refers to the dissolution or termination of a legally binding marriage, while annulment refers to the cancellation of a marriage.

A marriage entered into by two individuals and which is recognized by the state may be terminated or legally dissolved through divorce. In annulment, however, a marriage may only be annulled if the one entered into by two individuals is not legally binding since it was null and void from the very start. This means that though a marriage did take place, it was totally unacceptable and invalid, to begin with. Thus, unlike divorce, which may be filed with or without reasonable grounds, a marriage may only be annulled if any of the grounds listed below is met:

  • Incest. This would be the case if the two individuals who enter into marriage are blood related (most states outlaw marriages between relatives that are closer than second cousins);
  • Bigamy. This is the case when one of the spouses enters into (another) marriage while still in another marriage (that has not been terminated);
  • Underage. This means that either or both individuals, who entered into marriage, are under the age 16 (the age of consent).

There are also grounds that make a marriage voidable. This means that the marriage is legal, but should be voided or nullified/canceled due to any of the following reasons (states differ with regard to the grounds for annulling a marriage. The grounds listed below are the grounds recognized in the state of Texas):

  • One of the parties is 16 or older, but under the age of 18 and entered into the marriage without parental consent or a court order;
  • At the time of the marriage, the petitioner was under the influence of alcohol or narcotics and therefore, did not have the capacity to consent to marriage;
  • Either party, for physical or mental reasons, was permanently impotent at the time of the marriage and the petitioner did not know of the impotency;
  • The other party used fraud, duress or force to induce the petitioner to enter into the marriage;
  • The petitioner did not have the mental capacity to consent to marriage or to understand the nature of the marriage ceremony because of a mental disease or defect, at the time of marriage;
  • One party concealed a divorce, that occurred less than 30 days before the marriage, from the Petitioner, and the annulment suit is filed less than one year after the date of the marriage;
  • If the parties married less than 72 hours after the marriage license was granted and the annulment suit is filed less than 30 days after the date of the marriage.

For a court to grant an annulment, the petitioner ought to have refrained from voluntarily cohabiting with the other spouse after learning of the issue at hand or after the petitioner is no longer under the influence of the claimed grounds for the annulment.

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