Texas Requirements for an Annulment
We’ve already gone over the differences between a divorce and an annulment, and now we will venture into what the state of Texas requires to grant an annulment. As mentioned before, it takes more than just irreconciliable differences for a judge to grant an annulment. The following stipulations make a marriage potentially voidable, and therefore meet the requirements for Texas to annul your marriage. There may be other grounds, including fraud or duress, that aren’t discussed here and it’s important to remember that the reasons why one might want, or not want, an annulment are varied. Further, the grounds, while seemingly straightforward, are very fact-based and not often as clear under the law as they seem to be upon first reading. As always, it’s important to see a good family lawyer immediately if you think you might want to seek an annulment.
If you married at age 16 or older but under 18, then your parent, managing conservator, guardian, or a “next friend” can file for annulment on your behalf. However, this must be done before your 18th birthday, and, if filed by a “next friend,” it must be filed within 90 days of the wedding day.
That said, though, the Court does not have to annul a marriage under these circumstances.
Marriage Under the Influence
Have you seen The Hangover? In that movie, one of the characters was a little whacked out on roofies and alcohol and he married a total stranger at a Vegas chapel. He definitely had grounds for an annulment, and so would you if you got married while too drunk or too high to the point that you did not have the mental capacity to consent to the marriage. However, if you voluntarily moved in with your unplanned marriage partner since the wedding, you’ll need a divorce.
An Impotent Marriage Partner
If either party–yes, even women–have a physical or mental condition that prevents the happy couple from ever consummating the marriage (in other words, permanent impotency), then they can have an annulment. There are two caveats to this: 1) the other partner could not have known of the condition at the time of the marriage, and 2) the other partner cannot have voluntarily lived with the impotent party once the condition was revealed.
Marriage While Mentally Incapacitated
This follows along with rules of getting married under the influence. If you are the one with the mental incapacity, such as if you are mentally ill, you can annul the marriage if your incapacity included a lack of the ability to consent to the marriage or to understand what marriage is. If you were able to recover any capacity to realize what you did, you must move out immediately to get an annulment.
The same is true for the other party, meaning if it’s your spouse who is mentally incapacitated and you were not aware that he or she was so, you can request an annulment. Of course, you have to move out as soon as you find out that the spouse did not understand what they were doing at the time of marriage.
Marriage Too Soon After Divorce
You legally cannot get married in Texas within 30 days of your divorce. So if your spouse married you within 30 days of their divorce and you didn’t know about it AND you moved out as soon as you knew, then you can get an annulment…only if you learn all this before your first wedding anniversary.
Marriage Too Soon after Obtaining Marriage License
Here’s another Texas rule about getting married: you can’t get married within 72 hours of getting a marriage license. Again, if you find out that your spouse did so after the fact, you can request an annulment within 30 days of the marriage.
If you don’t meet any of these situations, you’ll have to opt for a divorce. Fortunately, we know a few attorneys who can help with that.