This page details Annulment Law under the Texas courts. Please call and speak with Kevin Sralla, a San Antonio family lawyer, we can also set up a free consultation to discuss your situation in person.
In certain situations enumerated in the Texas Family Code, a party can qualify to have a marriage annulled, rather than seeking a traditional divorce. Achieving an annulment is often less expensive and time-consuming than going through a divorce, and it renders the parties as if they had never been married in the first place. In other words, there is no community property to divide in an annulment. It is important to know and understand the different requirements for petitioning the Court for an annulment. The following are generally the grounds for an annulment in Texas:
The minimum legal age for getting lawfully married in Texas is 14. Anyone under the age of 14 who has gotten married can get an annulment. The petition for annulment must be filed within 90 days of the wedding day or within 90 days of the teenager’s 14th birthday. Also, a teenager who is between the ages of 14 and 18 can have a marriage annulled if the teen’s parents did not consent at the time of the marriage. Such a petition must be brought before the teen turns 18. After that point, the marriage becomes validated and the parties must seek a traditional divorce.
Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs
Anyone getting married while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or marrying a spouse while that spouse is under the influence, qualifies for an annulment in Texas. It is important to understand that a partying seeking to annul a marriage on this ground must petition the court as soon as possible, because voluntarily living with the spouse after the marriage will likely validate the marriage and leave traditional divorce as the only remedy for dissolution.
If a marriage partner is completely impotent, the other partner who got married with the expectation of having a healthy sexual relationship with them has grounds for an annulment. The party seeking annulment under these circumstances must prove that they did not know of the impotence before the marriage and they also must not live with the impotent spouse after finding out about the impotence factor. In this context, impotence is considered a form of marriage fraud.
Fraud, Duress or Force
Anyone who is threatened or forced into getting married has grounds for an annulment. As with the other grounds, the party who is being threatened must immediately cease living with the abusive spouse once they are able to escape from the threatening situation. Psychological issues can also form the basis for an annulment. A party who gets married without the mental capacity to understand what he or she was doing, can petition the Court for an annulment, provided that he or she ceased living with the other spouse as soon as he or she regained his or her mental faculties.
Invalid Marriage License
In order to get lawfully married in Texas, you must wait at least 72 hours from the issuance of a marriage license before partaking in a marriage ceremony. Any marriage that occurs within 72 hours of the issuance of a marriage license is subject to annulment.
In Texas, it is illegal to marry someone with 30 days of getting a divorce from a prior marriage. If a party finds out their spouse was too recently divorced, they can seek an annulment provided that the party can prove he or she did not know when their spouse’s divorce was finalized and that he party no longer lives with the too-recently divorced spouse. The Family Code allows the party to petition for annulment under this ground up until the first anniversary of the marriage. After the one year point, the party’s only remedy for dissolving the marriage is a traditional divorce.
Marriage During the Existence of a Prior Marriage
A marriage in Texas is void if entered while either party has an existing marriage to another person that has not been dissolved by legal action or terminated by the death of the other spouse. However, the later marriage becomes validated when the prior marriage is dissolved if, after the date of the dissolution, the parties continue to live together as husband and wife and represent themselves to others as being married.
Kevin “Buck” Sralla
Welcome, I am Kevin “Buck” Sralla, an experienced family law attorney in San Antonio, TX. I am licensed to practice in Texas state courts and skilled at advocating for my clients’ rights whether the setting be in a courtroom before a judge or jury or an informal mediation or settlement negotiation process.