Texas Marriage Annulment: Does Divorce Law Provide for Legal Separation
In Texas, a marriage ends through divorce, death, or annulment. When a marriage is annulled, it is declared “void.” Annulment in Texas is different from divorce. While a divorce ends a legal marriage, annulment ends a marriage that wasn’t valid from the very beginning. However, any children born or adopted during such a marriage are considered legitimate. The annulment declaration may include a decision on child support and custody and property division. There is no annulment in Texas time limit.
How To Get An Annulment in Texas
Marriage annulment in Texas is a type of lawsuit where a judge declares that a marriage was never valid due to certain reasons that existed at the beginning of the marriage. Once annulled, the marriage is believed to have never had legal existence. Additionally, the spouses will no longer be considered married after an annulment. The annulment statutes are mentioned in chapter 6 of the Texas Family Code.
What if Children Are Involved in the Annulment?
If the spouses have children from the marriage, they should file another suit “Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship” (SAPCR). This is necessary to get child custody, visitation, and child support rights.
A marriage annulment in Texas does not affect the legitimacy of children born in such marriage. That means children born in a marriage that is later annulled are considered legitimate.
A judge can decide child support, custody, visitation, alimony, and property division just like a divorce case. Even if you file for annulment in Texas, your children are considered legitimate and have the right to receive financial support by both parents. Children have the right to inherit property from either parent.
When Can You Get An Annulment in Texas?
Here are the grounds for annulment in Texas:
Underage – A Texas court may annul a marriage if one of the spouses was under the legal age to marry and/or had no parental consent to the marriage.
Bigamy – Either spouse was already married that wasn’t terminated.
Incest – Both spouses are relatives and closer than first cousins.
Intoxication – Either spouse was under the influence of drugs or alcohol during the marriage ceremony. The influence of intoxication was so much that the spouse could not consent to the marriage. After the effect of intoxication wore off, the two must not have lived together.
Fraud – Either spouse lied about something crucial to the marriage. A judge can annul a marriage in Texas if one of the spouses misled the other to marry them. Additionally, both spouses must not have voluntarily lived together since the fraud was revealed to them.
Impotence – Either of the two is unable to have sexual intercourse since the time of marriage due to a physical or mental problem. The fact was hidden from the other spouse at the time of marriage. Following the revelation, the two must not have lived together in order for the marriage to be annulled in Texas.
Duress or Force – Annulment of marriage in Texas is possible if one spouse forced the other to get married. A court can grant annulment if it finds that the petitioner was under so much duress that they did not have any other choice but to marry. They must not have lived under the same roof ever since.
Mental illness– A Texas marriage is annulled if one of the spouses was suffering from mental incapacity and was not mentally fit to consent to the marriage. A court can grant a wedding annulment in Texas if the petitioner was unaware that the other party lacked the mental capacity to agree to the marriage.
Additionally, both must not have cohabited voluntarily since then.
Violation of waiting period – Texas has a mandatory 72-hour waiting period after the license is issued for the couple to get married. A marriage can be annulled if there was a violation of the waiting period and the couple got married before that.
Concealed divorce – One spouse was already married and got divorced within a 30-day window before this marriage. The petitioner claims that he/she was unaware of it. The latter has not voluntarily cohabited since finding the reality.
Already married– If a spouse is previously married at the time of second marriage, the latter can still be considered valid if the earlier marriage is dissolved while the spouses of the second wedding continue to cohabit. In that case, a marriage cannot be annulled.
For an annulment of marriage in Texas, you must prove at least one of the aforementioned grounds. This involves investigation, discovery, and a court trial.
How To File For An Annulment In Texas
How to get an annulment in Texas? Well, the spouse seeking an annulment in Texas must file a petition for the same. The other spouse has the opportunity to either agree to or oppose the marriage annulment. While there is no specific annulment time frame in Texas, most marriages are annulled quickly than divorces.
Follow the steps below on how to make an annulment divorce in Texas:
- First, as a petitioner, you will need to fill out “A Suit to Declare Void the Marriage of [Petitioner] and [Respondent]” document. A petitioner is the spouse filing for marriage annulment. The other spouse is the respondent.
- The petition should be filed in the district court for the county where either of you lives. Additionally, to file an annulment petition in Texas, either spouse should have domiciled in the state for at least six months and/or should have resided in the county for a period of 90 days.
- List the full names of every person involved in the petition, that is, your spouse, children, and yourself. It is important to clearly mention the name of the spouse who has lived in the county for not less than 90 days.
- List important dates, that is, wedding day and the date both stopped living together.
- Clearly mention your property and that of your spouse if you have children. It is important for the court to know what you both own to decide property sharing in annulment of marriage Texas. You can request for child support, visitation, and custody.
When you file an annulment form in Texas, you should get an extra copy that can be served on the spouse.
How fast can you get annulment in Texas?
Well, Texas law allows spouses to file for dissolution of marriage in Texas in a jury trial. If you want a jury trial, you will need to attend a hearing before a judge or a jury of 12 county residents. It is required on your part to prove the legal grounds for annulment. If the jury or judge agrees you’ve valid reasons for annulment in Texas, they will declare your marriage void.
When your marriage is annulled, you can legally free to declare that you were never married before.
How Long After Marriage Can You Get an Annulment in Texas
There are certain grounds for annulment in this regard.
- Divorce: A petition for marriage annulment due to a previous divorce must be filed before the first marriage anniversary.
- Underage: An annulment petition in Texas due to an underage spouse must be filed before they turn 18 years of age. This means the annulment petition cannot be filed once that person is 18. The legal marriage age in Texas is 18 years. Texas allows marriage of a 16 year old with a parent’s consent. However, if a spouse is underage and their parents did not consent to the marriage, then a guardian or a parent can file for annulment of marriage in Texas.
- Waiting period violation: An annulment petition due to a waiting period violation must be filed within 30 days of the wedding date.
Is There a Waiting Period for Annulment in Texas?
The length of your marriage is no ground for annulment in Texas. There is no waiting period in Texas before a judge can declare a marriage void under Section 6.702(b) of the Texas Family Code.
Is Property Shared in Annulment of Marriage Texas
Section 7.002 of the Texas Family Code allows for property sharing under the following circumstances:
(a) The judge shall order a division of the following property, irrespective of location:
- Property acquired by either of the two while domiciled in another state. Besides, this property would have been community property had the spouse who acquired the same had been a domicile of the same state at the time of acquisition.
- Property acquired by either spouse in exchange for property that would otherwise be deemed community property had the spouse acquiring the same been a domicile in this state during acquisition.
(b) The court shall award to one spouse the following property, irrespective of location, as a separate property:
- Property acquired by one spouse as a domicile of another state. That property would have been treated the spouse’s separate property had they been domiciled in this state during acquisition.
- Property acquired by a partner in exchange for another property (real or personal). That property would have been treated as a separate property had they been a domicile here during acquisition.
(c) A judge shall deem the following as a separate property of a partner if it is already partitioned or exchanged by an agreement between both spouses in writing:
(1) Income from the property, salary, wages, and compensation received by a spouse on or after January 1st of the same year when the annulment suit was filed;
(2) Earnings of one partner in a year during the time the two were married