Legally separating from your partner is never easy. Whatever your circumstances, if you are seeking an annulment, the assistance of a Houston annulment lawyer can make the process as painless as possible.
At the Ramos Law Group, our family lawyers provide compassionate and attentive legal representation to clients dealing with some of life’s greatest challenges. Our innovative attorneys can work with you to design a unique strategy to help you walk away from your marriage on your terms.
Annulment vs. Divorce
When you get a divorce, you are asking to end your marriage contract. You can file for divorce based on “insupportability,” a no-fault rule allowing you to divorce your partner based on incompatibility. Having your marriage annulled, however, requires you to fit into a defined category.
Grounds for Annulment
An annulment declares your marriage never existed. Shorter marriages can be easier to annul, but you can still annul a marriage if you were married for many years and shared children and property.
Typically, you must show your marriage is either void or voidable to qualify for annulment. In Texas, you request to annul a voidable marriage and request to declare void a marriage that was void from the outset. Because both are usually discussed under the umbrella of annulment, we cover both void and voidable marriages here. An annulment attorney will know how to declare a marriage void and how to annul a marriage.
If you did not take the proper steps or you did not knowingly enter into your marriage, it may be voidable. You can legitimize a voidable marriage, purposefully or by accident, by voluntarily living together as a married couple after the condition making the marriage voidable ends or after you discover the facts that could make the marriage voidable.
Marriage Under 18
People 16 to 17 years old can get married if they ask the court to remove their legal minority. If a minor marries without following this procedure, they can annul the marriage. Note that, in 2017, Texas eliminated parental consent as a valid way for two minors to marry.
Under the Influence
If you were under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the marriage, you may qualify for annulment. You must show that you lacked the capacity to consent to the marriage.
You can request an annulment if either party to the marriage was permanently impotent at the time of the marriage. You will not qualify for annulment due to impotence if you knew about the impotence at the time you entered into the marriage.
Fraud, Duress, or Force
You can annul a marriage entered into by fraud, duress, or force. This broad ground can cover abusive or coercive relationships. It also applies if your partner lied to you or concealed facts that, if you had known, would have caused you not to marry them.
Either party in a marriage involving someone who lacks the mental capacity to consent to marriage may request an annulment. If a party who is not incapacitated seeks an annulment, they must show they did not know and could not have discovered the mental incapacity before the marriage took place.
You can also seek an annulment if one party was divorced from a third party within 30 days of the marriage at issue. You must reasonably not have known about the divorce and must request annulment within one year of the marriage date.
Marriage Less Than 72 Hours After License Issued
You generally must wait 72 hours after your marriage license is issued to marry. If you do not wait to get married and do not qualify for an exception, you can request annulment within 30 days of the marriage date.
Some marriages cannot be legitimized because some relationship or legal status at the time of the marriage made it illegal.
You cannot marry someone who is your:
- Ancestor or descendant,
- Aunt or uncle, or
- Niece or nephew.
This prohibition applies to those related by blood, half-blood, and adoption.
A person who is already married cannot get married again. So, suppose Joe and Sally get married, but later, Joe finds out that he is still legally married to his former wife, Joy. As soon as Joe finds out, he petitions the court to dissolve his marriage with Joy, and the court grants his request. If Joe and Sally continue to live together and present themselves as being married after the previous marriage dissolved, Joe and Sally can make their current marriage valid despite it being void at the outset.
Marriage to a Minor
No one 18 and older may marry anyone 15 or younger. A person 18 or older may only marry a person who is 16 or 17 and has a court order removing the disabilities of their minority.
Marriage to a Stepchild or Stepparent
You cannot marry your stepchild or stepparent. This prohibition explicitly applies to current and former stepchildren and stepparents.
The Annulment Process
To begin the annulment process, you file with the appropriate county court. You can file in Texas if you live here or if the marriage occurred here. Unlike filing for divorce, there is no waiting period.
Get Help from a Houston Annulment Lawyer
Having your marriage annulled or declared void requires you to show why it was invalid when you entered into it, which can be challenging. Getting an annulment or declaration that a marriage is void is made all the more complicated if you share children or property. If you are seeking a lawyer to annul a marriage, contact the Ramos Law Group today to discuss whether your unique situation qualifies for annulment. We can help.