What You Should Know About Annulments in Texas

Whether you are familiar with Texas law or not, you are likely well aware of the fact that Texas law is a bit different than that of other states. For instance, Texas does not have a state income tax; Texas homestead laws are some of the strongest in the nation, so even if a creditor wanted to boot a Texan from his or her home, the creditor probably could not; and Texas barely recognizes annulments. We say barely because annulments are recognized, but the chances of obtaining one are very slim. At Udeshi Clark and Associates, our Dallas annulment lawyers are regularly approached about the possibility of annulment, and we regularly have to tell individuals that annulment is not an option. That said, if you are married and hope to get an annulment, there are a few things you must understand about Texas annulments first.

To Get an Annulment in Texas, Your Marriage Must be Void or Voidable

While the terms may seem redundant, they mean different things. A void marriage is a marriage that could not have been, while a voidable marriage is one that never should have been. We will explore the nuances of each below:

Void Marriages

In Texas, there are two grounds for declaring a marriage void:

  • The existence of a prior marriage; and
  • Consanguinity.

Most states do not recognize a marriage if, at the time of the union, one or both parties were already married to someone else. Texas is one of those states. However, unlike most other states, if the marriage ceremony does happen, and if the twice-married party dissolves his or hers first marriage, and if you decided to stay with that person after that first marriage is dissolved, then you automatically become married once the decree is finalized. If you want to declare your marriage void, you must do so before the other party seeks a divorce from his or her first spouse.

Consanguinity refers to a marriage between two family members. Texas does not allow close family members—meaning father or mother, a child, a brother or sister, an aunt or uncle, a niece or nephew—to legally wed. If you are married to a close relative, you can declare your marriage void.

Voidable Marriages

There are six grounds for voidable marriages in Texas:

  • Forced Consent: If one or both spouses were forced into the union, the marriage is voidable and obtaining an annulment is possible.
  • Fraud: If one or both spouses misrepresented themselves prior to the marriage, the marriage is voidable. However, if the spouses continued to live together after the fraud was discovered, the Texas courts will not grant an annulment.
  • Impotence: If either spouse is unable to have sexual relations or is impotent, and if the other spouse was unaware of this prior to tying the knot, the marriage is voidable and an annulment will be granted.
  • Concealed Divorce: Texas law prohibits any person from getting remarried within 30 days of a divorce. This law is in place to protect the person’s former spouse in the event that he or she wants to reopen the divorce case.
  • Underage Marriage: In Texas, a person must be 18 to get married or 16 with parental consent. If it is discovered that an underage person got married without parental consent, or if the underage person was less than 16 years old, the marriage is voidable. However, the parents must file for the annulment on behalf of the underage child.
  • Mental Illness: If either spouse was mentally ill at the time of the marriage, the marriage is voidable and can be annulled.
  • Mental Impairment: If either party was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the marriage and unable to give informed consent, the court may grant an annulment.

If none of those apply to you, you still have one last chance at getting an annulment in Dallas, and that is if you found out that your spouse did not wait at least 72 hours after obtaining your marriage license before getting married. For instance, if your spouse got the license at 4 pm on Friday and the two of you tied the knot at 6 pm on Saturday, your marriage would be void.

Consult With a Knowledgeable Dallas Annulment Lawyer

If you hope to obtain an annulment in Dallas, TX, make sure that you meet the requirements. Even if you do not, you can still get a simplified divorce. To learn more about your options for dissolving your marriage, reach out to the Dallas annulment attorneys at Clark Law Group at (469) 906-2266 to schedule your visit today.