Annulment in Texas
It is very common for people to call a lawyer’s office and say “I want an annulment” and they are disappointed to learn that the annulment process is not available to them. Because the rules related to annulments in Texas are very specific, the facts of most cases do not fit into the statutory terms. That means the judge cannot grant an annulment.
Annulment vs. Divorce
In legal terms, an annulment is appropriate only when the marriage was invalid from the outset. In other words, there was something about the facts involved in the marriage that give a person “grounds” to ask for an annulment.
In legal terms, a divorce is appropriate when there has been a valid marriage and one or both parties desire to bring that relationship to an end.
Grounds For Annulment
An annulment can be granted by a judge if:
- Alcohol or narcotics – A person was incapacitated by alcohol or narcotics to the extent that he/she did not have the ability to understand the situation and that person separated from the other person when the effects of the alcohol or narcotics ended.
- Fraud, Duress Or Force – One person used fraud, duress or force to compel the other person into the marriage and the person who was under pressure separated from the other person after understanding the nature of the fraud, duress or force.
- Mental Incapacity – One person lacks the mental capacity to consent to the marriage or understand the marriage relationship and the parties separated when the mental incapacity was discovered.
- Concealed Divorce – One party conceals that he/she has been divorced from another person less than 30 days prior to the marriage and the parties separate after learning of the prior divorce.
- Marriage Within 72 Hours After License Was Issued – The marriage took place less than 72 hours after the marriage license was issued.
- Marriage During Prior Marriage – A party is already married to another person.
- Marriage To Certain Relatives – The marriage involves people who are close relatives.
It is rare for the facts of a case to fit into the statutory requirements for an annulment. Of course, a divorce is available.