You know your spouse is not right for you, and it feels wrong to be with them. As heartbreaking as it may feel, marriage does not work for everyone. In most cases, a married couple will seek a dissolution of marriage. However, in some cases, you might be eligible for an annulment instead of a divorce.
An annulment is a process where you can fundamentally “erase” the marriage from existence. It requires a specific process, and Texas has certain criteria that must be met, along with a set process a plaintiff would need to follow to request and/or receive an annulment.
If you are ready to take the next step in ending your marriage either through annulment or divorce, contact the passionate legal team at the Law Office of Chris Schmiedeke at 214-643-8904 for guidance on your family law matters.
An annulment is very different from a divorce, although they both have the same outcome – they dissolve a marriage. However, there are some key differences. When one or both spouses pursue a marriage annulment, this means their marriage is voided. Essentially, the finalization of an annulment makes it as if the marriage never occurred.
On the other hand, a divorce is the legal ending of a marriage; it remains on record, and the union is legally recognized as once existing but has since been dissolved at some point after the time of the marriage and is accompanied by a court order.
If one spouse wants to seek a Texas annulment but the other is not in agreement, it is not a requirement for both spouses to sign off on an annulment to declare the marriage void.
However, it is not as simple as asking for one either. In an annulment situation where a spouse agrees, you will still need to provide reasons why your marriage is void or voidable and convince a presiding judge in a court of law why those reasons are valid.
Annulments can also be contested. In other words, your spouse (the respondent) can dispute your request for an annulment, which can create a sticky legal scenario. An experienced Texas annulment lawyer can help you through this or another type of situation that impacts your ability to file for a successful annulment.
Annulment in Texas is not an automatic process nor is it necessarily easy to do. Even if you wish the marriage never occurred, you cannot simply ask for it to go away. You may or may not be eligible depending upon the circumstances that led to the marriage, events during the marriage, and whether or not your marriage fits the legal criteria to be granted an annulment. The difficulty of getting an annulment in Dallas will directly depend upon your specific circumstances.
The State of Texas allows for a number of different grounds for annulment. The reasons are as follows, according to Texas’ Family Code.
In Texas, it is illegal for close relatives (also referred to as “consanguinity”) to marry. This is automatic grounds for annulment if the two people married are a parent and a child, siblings, or an aunt or uncle marrying their niece or nephew. Non-blood relatives, such as a stepparent and stepchild (either current or former) who wed will also find their marriage to be void.
If at the time of the marriage, one of the parties entered the union when they were already married to another party, this is bigamy and, under Texas law, the second marriage would not be valid. For a party to legally marry another, they must be considered as not married or fully divorced.
When one party of a marriage was under the age of 14 years when the ceremony took place, this automatically makes the union void. A person must be 18 years old to wed without parental consent, and there are strict laws when a person is 15-17 years old – they must either have had parental consent or have become an emancipated minor. If not, the court will issue an annulment. Parties who can file for an annulment based on being underage include a parent, legal guardian, or a next friend for the benefit of the underage party. If the individual is 18, then these parties may no longer file on behalf of the underaged individual.
Under the Influence of Narcotics or Alcohol
An annulment may be granted if the petitioner is determined to have been under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time they were married. The court will view this as the individual as having been incapable of consenting to be wed, and the result is a void marriage.
Concealed a Prior Divorce Within 30 Days of the Marriage
If one party concealed that they divorced someone else within 30 days of their next marriage, the petitioner can use this as a basis to file for an annulment. However, it can only be used as grounds until the marriage’s first anniversary; after that time, it is too late to file for an annulment using these grounds.
Duress, Fraud, or Force
In the event a person entered a marriage through duress or force, they can petition for an annulment. They can also use fraud as grounds if their spouse lied or hid important information relevant to the marriage.
When one of the people in the marriage suffers from mental incompetency and participated in a marriage ceremony without fully understanding what was happening, the other person in the marriage who had full mental capacity can use their spouse’s mental incapacity as grounds for an annulment to prove theirs was not a valid marriage.
A person can use impotency as grounds for annulment if either spouse was impotent at the time they wed. To be eligible for this as grounds, the petitioner must not have known about the impotence when the marriage occurred. Additionally, Texas law states that “the petitioner has not voluntarily cohabited with the other party since learning of the impotency.”
Additionally, there is a potential to seek an annulment due to Texas’ requirement of a waiting period of 72 hours after the issuance of the marriage license. If married within those three days, this could be grounds if an annulment is sought within the first 30 days after the marriage date.
Most people in Dallas find it more efficient to hire an attorney who is experienced with successfully navigating Texas annulments. However, if you choose to forego pursuing legal advice with an attorney about your annulment, you will have to do the paperwork yourself, which can be complex. To start, you will need to:
Either a judge or a jury will be deciding your trial when you seek to receive an annulment in Texas. If you have an attorney by your side, you increase your chances for success because they will know exactly what to file and how to structure your grounds.
Under the Texas Family Code section 7.002, it is permittable for Texas courts to distribute any marital property in an annulment in any matter they deem just and right. When determining property division, the court will take into account the rights of each party, the income of both parties, and any children born in the marriage.
Division of community property may or may not work in your favor – it is best to have your proverbial legal ducks in a row before your case goes in front of a judge or jury. Seeking the advice of a Dallas family law attorney who is well-versed in Texas annulment law can help to get you the best possible and potentially more favorable outcome.
In the Lone Star State, if any children are either born to or adopted by the spouses, this does not delegitimize them in the event of an annulment. However, there will need to be the inclusion of a Suit Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship (SAPCR) which is a child custody suit, along with the annulment request. Connecting the annulment case with the SAPCR allows the court to establish custody, visitation, child support, health insurance, and other relevant decisions typically decided in family law matters.
If you are going to pursue the annulment process, understand it can be quite complex. To succeed, everything has to be in proper order. An attorney will make sure you have the proper evidence needed to be presented when you make your court appearance. Your attorney will also make sure you are being treated fairly during the court process and can take the right steps to increase the chances that the annulment request will not be denied.
Being caught in a marriage you feel is inherently wrong is very stressful and makes for strong feelings of uncertainty about your future. In some cases, a marriage should simply not have occurred in the first place.
If you are in a situation where you feel your circumstances meet the grounds for annulment which are either required to have been present at or during the time of marriage, and you want to pursue a decree of annulment, the Law Office of Chris Schmiedeke wants to help you.
Our law firm has extensive experience in annulments and divorces. Our clients are extremely important to us, and we will work hard to see a judge grant approval for your annulment. Our law firm has received high accolades from past clients, and we have the full intention of maintaining this standard of service for new clients.
Our law firm also makes legal information available to you in the form of an eBook/eCourse package and an educational YouTube channel. To learn more about why our past clients give us positive reviews, give us a call today at 214-643-8904 for a case evaluation. If it is more convenient and comfortable for you, feel free to reach out to us through our online contact form.
Our law office handles annulment and divorce cases in our home in Dallas County, along with surrounding counties in the metroplex, including Collin County, Denton County, and Tarrant County.