In Texas, marriages end through death, divorce or annulment. In Texas, annulment is also referred to as declaring a marriage “void.” This article explains what an annulment is, the process of getting an annulment in Texas, and what the effects of an annulment are.
If you have other questions about annulment in Texas after reading this article, you should speak with a family law attorney in your area.
Overview of an Annulment
Annulment and divorce are different: a divorce ends a valid marriage, while an annulment ends a marriage that should not have been valid to begin with. If your marriage was invalid from the beginning, you may be eligible for an annulment of your marriage in the state of Texas.
Grounds For an Annulment
You need to be able to show one of several legal grounds to get an annulment in Texas. Your marriage may be eligible for annulment if you can show any of the following:
- Incest – your and your spouse are related, closer than first cousins.
- Bigamy – either you or your spouse is in another marriage that wasn’t terminated before your own marriage.
- Underage – one spouse was under the legal age to get married.
- Intoxication – one spouse was too intoxicated during the ceremony to consent to marriage.
- Impotence – one spouse is permanently unable to have sexual intercourse.
- Fraud – one spouse lied about or hid something essential to the marriage.
- Duress or Force – one spouse was coerced, threatened, or forced to get married.
Some of these grounds for annulment have other requirements:
If a spouse has another husband or wife at the time of marriage, the spouse can still have a valid marriage if the earlier marriage is dissolved and the spouses of the later marriage continue to live together. When this happens, the marriage can’t be annulled later.
An annulment has to be filed by one of the spouses, unless one spouse is underage. When a spouse is underage, a parent or guardian can file for the annulment on their behalf. The legal age to get married in Texas is 18, or 16 with a parent’s consent or court order. Once a spouse is 18, the spouse can’t file for an annulment based on being underage.
A Texas court won’t grant an annulment based on intoxication if the spouses lived together after the spouses were sober.
If a spouse wants an annulment because their husband or wife is unable to have sexual intercourse, the impotence has to be permanent. Also, the court won’t grant annulment if the spouse asking for annulment knew about the impotence at the time of marriage, or voluntarily lived with the impotent spouse since finding out.
A Texas court won’t grant annulment for fraud, duress or force if the spouses continued to live together after the fraud was discovered or the duress or force was no longer present. Only major fraud about something essential to the marriage will be enough for an annulment. For example, a Texas husband whose wife didn’t tell him about five of her eight previous marriages was granted an annulment. A spouse lying about being a virgin before the marriage, however, isn’t enough for an annulment in Texas.