An annulment in Texas is a decision by a court that your marriage was not valid at the time it took place and was never a true legal marriage. There are very specific situations in which this is possible, so it's important to understand the law.
A legal annulment is not the same as a religious annulment. Religious annulments speak only to your status in your church and it is possible to get a religious annulment after a legal divorce or a legal annulment.
Divorce or Annulment
If you want to end your marriage, it is possible to get an annulment in Texas or a divorce in Texas. A divorce is a legal ending to a valid marriage. Most people who end a marriage get a divorce. To find out how to file for a divorce in Texas, you should check with a lawyer or an online service that can assist you. A divorce resolves all issues of custody, child support, property division, and spousal support and ends the marriage.
An annulment is a declaration by the court that the marriage was not valid from the start and was never a legal marriage, but child custody, support, and property division are included in the decision if necessary. If you get an annulment, it is as if you were never married; however, any children born during a marriage that is later annulled are considered legitimate.
Grounds for Annulment
Can you get an annulment in Texas? There are a number of specific situations in which a Texas marriage can be annulled:
- Under age. One of the spouses was under age 18 and did not have parental consent or a court order allowing marriage at the time of the marriage.
- Under the influence. One of the spouses was under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the marriage and has not voluntarily cohabited with the other person since the effects of the influence wore off.
- Impotency. One of the spouses was permanently impotent at the time of the marriage and the other person didn't know this and has not voluntarily cohabited with them since learning about it.
- Fraud. One of the spouses was coerced by fraud, duress, or force to enter into the marriage and that person has not voluntarily cohabited with the other since.
- Mental illness. One of the spouses had a mental illness that prevented them from consenting to the marriage and they have not voluntarily cohabited.
- Violation of waiting period. The parties got married less than 72 hours after the marriage license was issued. Texas has a mandatory waiting period between the license issuance and the wedding.
- Concealed divorce. One of the spouses got divorced from someone else within a 30-day window before the marriage and the other spouse did not know about this and has not voluntarily cohabited since discovering the truth.
How Long Do You Have to Annul a Marriage?
It depends on the reason you're seeking the annulment:
- If the annulment is due to one of the spouses being under age, the petition for annulment must be filed before that person turns 18.
- If the annulment is due to a previous divorce, the case for annulment must be filed by the first anniversary of the marriage.
- If the annulment is due to a violation of the waiting period, the case has to filed within 30 days of the marriage date.
In the other situations, there is no specific time limit on when you can file for an annulment in Texas. If one of the spouses is deceased, a case for annulment can't be brought.
An annulment is begun by filing a petition for annulment. The case then moves forward with the other spouse having the opportunity to agree or oppose the annulment. Most annulments are wrapped up more quickly than divorces since the marriages are generally are of a shorter length and there are fewer issues to decide.
How much does it cost to get an annulment? The cost of an annulment depends on whether the spouses are in agreement and whether attorneys are used. The cost can range from a few hundred dollars to thousands.