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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.

Common Myths About Child Custody

Determining child custody is an emotionally exhausting process. In fact it is often the most highly contentious part of a divorce. Due to the controversial nature of child custody, there has been many misconceptions about it.

Myth: Mothers always get custody

It is a common misconception that mothers always get custody, because they are the “greater parent” for bearing the child. It may be true that mothers may get custody if the child is in his or her tender years, but generally, the courts have no biases against genders. The courts will grant custody to the parent who can put the child in a better condition, in terms of health, safety, and other aspects of life. It doesn’t matter whether that parent is the mother or the father.

Myth: A child can choose which side to follow upon reaching a certain age

Another common misconception is that the child has the right to choose a side when he or she reaches a certain age, which is usually twelve to fifteen. It is true that the child may choose which parent to be with, but the choice is not absolute. The best that could happen is that the judge may consider it as a factor in determining custody. Its weight as a factor depends on the child’s age, maturity level, and reason, but at the end of the day, the judge will give custody with the best interest of the child in mind.

Myth: Joint custody means that the child will get equal time with both parents

Parents can gain joint custody over a child, but it doesn’t mean that the child will have equal time with both. Joint custody may mean that both parents may share decisions regarding the child, such as in terms of residence, education, religion, and other important factors that affect the child’s wellbeing. But the child is more likely to spend more time with the parent who he or she is with on a day-to-day basis.

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