Complications can arise in any marriage. While some are able to sail through difficult times, others might end in divorce due to irreconcilable differences. Nevertheless, divorces are quite common in the world today.
According to a Statista report, 2.3 per 1,000 US population was the recorded divorce rate in the United States in 2020.
When you have to end a marriage, the first course of action is always to file for a divorce. But not many know that there is another way to end a marriage in Texas – annulment. With a divorce, the marriage is legally ended, however, an annulment declares a union null and void.
With an annulment, it will be as if no marriage had taken place. The end result of these processes is the same – both the parties are declared legally separated and free to marry again.
In this article, we’ll explore everything there is to know about marriage annulment in Texas, including the grounds of annulment, time limits, and more. Without further ado, let’s get straight to it.
Annulment in Texas
Annulment in Texas is when the court declares a marriage to be null and void. It essentially means that the marriage was never truly legal. However, not all marriages qualify for annulments.
The Texas law states specific situations when an annulment is possible. So, it’s important to first understand that before we can even get to the annulment process.
There are basically two types of marriages that can be annulled in the state of Texas – marriages that are illegal and those that are voidable. Both these categories need to fulfill certain legal grounds to qualify for an annulment.
Let’s take a detailed look at those –
a. Marriages that are automatically void in Texas
Certain marriages are prohibited under Texas law, so they are considered to be automatically void –
- Incestuous marriages: When a marriage takes place between close relatives, or between a stepchild (current or former) and a stepparent.
- Underage marriages: When either spouse, at the time of marriage, was less than 18 years of age.
- Polygamy or Bigamy: When either spouse, at the time of marriage, was married to some other person too.
All these marriages are considered to be void from the beginning, however, Texas law allows validity for certain bigamous marriages, if the already-married spouse obtains a divorce from their former spouse.
b. Voidable marriages
A voidable marriage can be annulled for the following reasons –
- Fraud, force, or duress: If an individual was forced, coerced, and misled into getting married, it can be considered reasonable grounds for annulment in the state of Texas. The fraud, in this situation, should be a form of misrepresentation that affects a person’s decision to get married.
- Marriage that is in violation of Texas waiting periods: If a partner remarries before the 30-day waiting period after a divorce, the new marriage will qualify for an annulment. Another reason for annulment can be if a wedding ceremony takes place before the 72-hour waiting period that comes with a marriage license.
- Impotence: If, at the time of marriage, an individual did not know that their spouse was incapable of sexual relations, whether for mental or physical health-related reasons.
- Incapacity to consent to marriage: If at the time of the marriage, either or both individuals were high on drugs or drunk, they are not expected to have the mental capacity to legally consent to a marriage. In this case too, the marriage would be annulled.
Is it hard to get an annulment in Texas?
Whenever it comes to getting an annulment, a typical question in the minds of most people is whether it is hard to get an annulment in the state of Texas. Many people prefer to get an annulment since it’s a simple way to declare a relationship void.
The legal effect of an annulment is such that the marriage is considered to have never taken place in the first place. It essentially provides you a second chance to review your circumstances, and you’ll be able to avoid an unsuitable lifelong commitment.
Filing an annulment is really not that hard once you know the process. The first thing you would have to do is file a petition for annulment. The other spouse will then get the opportunity to either agree or oppose the annulment.
The great thing about annulments is that they are wrapped fairly quickly and with lesser issues too, which is in stark contrast to the long-drawn process of divorce.
Annulment vs Divorce Texas
In a divorce, the court decides how a valid marriage ends. Divorces in Texas can either be complex or simple, depending on the way in which the spouses reach an agreement. Here are some of the common types of divorces that take place in Texas –
- Fault divorce
- No-fault divorce (Uncontested divorce)
- Mediated divorce
- Military divorce
- Litigated divorce
In a marriage annulment, on the other hand, the court considers the marriage invalid. It doesn’t recognize certain marriages as valid at all. Most people who want to end a marriage go with a divorce.
This is because divorce helps in resolving all issues related to child support, custody, spousal support, property division, and more.
In annulment decisions, spousal support, child custody, property division, and other such aspects of separation are not considered. The marriage is considered to have never taken place. If any children are born from a marriage that is later annulled, they would, however, be considered legitimate.
Here’s a video explaining the differences between an annulment and divorce.
Texas annulment time limits
Potential time limits are also very important when it comes to annulments. After the date of marriage, an individual would have 30 days to 1 year to file a petition for annulment.
The time limits can differ for different reasons for annulment. Here’s a look at some of them –
- Annulment due to a previous divorce: In this case, the annulment should be filed in the first year of marriage, before the first anniversary.
- Annulment due to underage spouse: In this case, the petition for annulment should be filed before a person turns 18 years of age.
- Annulment due to waiting period violation: We have already explained in the previous section the cases in which violation of waiting period after divorce can be grounds for annulment. In this case, the petition for annulment should be filed within 30 days of the date of marriage.
In other cases of annulments, there is usually no time limitations for filing an annulment. It’s also important to note that if one of the spouses is deceased, a petition for annulment cannot be made.
Can you get an annulment without the other person?
There can be two types of cases in annulment –
1. When both the parties agree to get an annulment.
2. When one of the spouses opposes the annulment.
In such a situation, one might wonder whether it is possible to proceed with an annulment without the other person. Is it necessary for both spouses to agree on an annulment to proceed?
The simple answer to this is – No. As long as an individual is able to prove the grounds for annulment, there is not much the other spouse can do to stop the case from proceeding.
There is a condition to all of this though. For a successful annulment, it’s important to provide compelling and solid evidence with your case. You have to prove to the Texas courts why your marriage should be declared invalid.
While this is quite simple in most cases, its not always easy to produce the necessary evidence.
Annulment Time Frame
Individuals seeking an annulment in the state of Texas should also be familiar with the annulment time frame. Usually, there is no waiting period between filing an annulment petition and the court granting an annulment.
However, in most cases, the court will not be able to grant an annulment right away. So you can expect the court to take a few weeks before granting you an annulment.
Can a divorce be reversed in Texas?
The Texas Family Code allows individuals to modify their divorce decrees, the condition being that both the spouses agree to reverse the divorce mutually. The divorce can also be reversed when the circumstances of one or both spouses change substantially.
How long do you have to annul a marriage Texas?
If the marriage took place within 72 hours after the issuance of a marriage license, the judge would grant the annulment. However, there are some exceptions to this. This petition for annulment has to be filed within 30 days from the date of the marriage.
What are grounds for annulment in Texas?
There are various grounds for annulment in Texas –
- Underage marriage
- Marriage when under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Mental Illness
- Concealed divorce
- Waiting period violation
Can a divorce be annulled?
Texas courts allow annulment only in some specific cases. To obtain an annulment, an individual would have to prove the grounds for annulment in court. If the court is convinced that there are sufficient grounds for annulment, the same would be granted immediately.