There are many reasons why individuals may decide not to move forward in a marriage. Feelings and circumstances change, and sometimes two parties realize they should not have gotten married in the first place. But you don’t always need to go through the process of getting a divorce. In certain circumstances, the court can cancel the marriage outright. This is called an annulment. Here is what you need to know about getting an annulment in Texas.

What’s the difference between divorce and annulment?

An annulment is a type of lawsuit where a judge rules a marriage is invalid for reasons at the beginning of a marriage. So while a divorce acknowledges that a marriage happened, legally speaking, an annulment is when the court deems the whole marriage invalid.

What can get a marriage annulled?

In Texas, there are several grounds under which a person can file for annulment. They include the following possibilities:

  • One of the spouses in the marriage is under the age of 18. Generally an annulment has to be filed by one of the spouses, but when a spouse is underage parents or guardians can file an annulment for them. While 16-year olds can get married in Texas with a parent’s consent or court order, the legal age is 18. Spouses over 18 can’t file for an  annulment based on being underage.
  • A spouse was under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the marriage, or lacked the mental capacity to enter a marriage. If you weren’t able to decide to get married, and you wake up married, you generally have a good shot at getting it called off. Crucially, however, you must not have voluntarily lived with the spouse once sober or lucid, or the court will conclude that the marriage is valid.  
  • A spouse concealed an inability to reproduce, a prior divorce, or convinced their partner to marry by fraud, duress, or force. These are considered to place a marriage under false pretenses. However, if the partners have chosen to continue to cohabitate after any of this comes out, the law considers this grounds that the marriage is valid and can’t be annulled.
  • Incest. If you and your spouse are related to any degree closer than first cousins, then that’s grounds for annulment.

If you have questions about annulment or are wondering if you qualify for an annulment in Texas, contact the legal team at Sandoval Family Law. We are experienced in all legal matters pertaining to marriage, divorce and annulment and can answer you questions and represent your case in court.