When most people think of ending of marriage, they usually assume they will need a divorce. Most of the time, this is true. But in a few cases, a divorce may not be as appropriate as an annulment. Like a divorce, an annulment severs the legal union between two people, but there are very specific instances when it is called for.
For an annulment to be appropriate, there must be a claim of some kind of manipulation or dishonesty at the heart of the marriage. While a divorce recognizes and ends the validity of an existing marriage, an annulment finds that a marriage was never legitimate in the first place, and is thus voided in the eyes of the law.
When an Annulment is Possible
There's a popular notion that, if a marriage is new, it can still be annulled (rather than be the subject of a divorce). This is not necessarily true. The grounds for an annulment are specific and must be demonstrated clearly to be granted by a judge.
Grounds for an annulment in Texas include:
- Duress - when a spouse was threatened or coerced into marriage
- Underage - when a spouse was legally too young to get married
- Fraud - when a spouse was lied to about something highly significant
- Impotence - when a spouse cannot participate in sexual intercourse
- Intoxication - when a spouse was not sober enough to consent to marriage
Ground for a marriage to be declared void include:
- Bigamy - when one or more spouses is legally married to a third party
- Incest - when the spouses are related
Obtaining an Annulment
If you believe that your marriage meets one of these criteria and you would like to pursue an annulment, then you must file suit. A copy of this lawsuit must also be provided to the spouse (a matter your legal counsel should be able to assist you with).
If the spouse agrees to the annulment, then the matter can continue uncontested. However, if the spouse contests the lawsuit, then a contested trial before a judge or jury may commence.
Whether you are just looking to file thorough and compelling paperwork or need your right to annulment aggressively put forth before the court, Hunt Law Firm, P.L.L.C. can assist you. Our Katy divorce attorneys know what challenges individuals may face when seeking or contesting an annulment and are ready to bring dedicated, experienced, and dynamic counsel to the aid of our clients.
Want to learn more about your annulment options? Call today.