By: Abigail Grieve
When seeking to dissolve your marriage, you might consider annulment as being an option if you haven’t been married that long. However, despite depictions of annulment in pop culture, there are very specific requirements that the circumstances of your marriage must meet in order to file for and obtain an annulment in Texas.
A Petition for Annulment is brought when there has been some legal impediment to the creation of a valid marriage. This means that some circumstance existed, prior to your marriage, that caused your marriage to not be effectively created. If one of these circumstances existed, your marriage is considered voidable, meaning that you can choose to dissolve it by filing a Petition for Annulment and proving that you meet a ground for annulment in court, or you can continue to stay married, and your marriage will continue to be recognized as valid.
To obtain an annulment of your marriage in Texas, you must meet one of six grounds:
1. Under Influence of Alcohol or Narcotics1: You can obtain an annulment of a marriage under this ground if, at the time of the marriage, you were under the influence of alcoholic beverages or narcotics, and therefore did not have the capacity to consent to the marriage. Further, you must not have voluntarily cohabited with your spouse since the effects of the alcoholic beverages or narcotics ended.
2. Impotency2: Under this ground, you can obtain an annulment if (1) your spouse, for physical or mental reasons, was permanently impotent at the time of the marriage, (2) you did not know of the impotency when you were married, and (3) you have not voluntarily cohabited with your spouse since learning of the impotency.
3. Fraud, Duress, or Force3: Under this ground, you can obtain an annulment if your spouse used fraud, duress, or force to induce you to get married to them, and you have not voluntarily cohabited with your spouse since learning of the fraud or since being released from the duress or force.
4. Mental Incapacity4: You (or your guardian or friend, if the court finds it in your best interest to be represented by them) can obtain an annulment of your marriage if, at the time of the marriage, you did not have the mental capacity to consent to marriage or to understand the nature of the marriage ceremony due to mental disease or defect. Further, under this ground, you must not, since the time of the marriage ceremony, have voluntarily cohabited with your spouse during any time in which you possessed the mental capacity to recognize the marriage relationship.
5. Concealed Divorce5: Under this ground, you can obtain an annulment of your marriage if (1) your spouse was divorced from a different person within the 30-days before the date of your marriage ceremony, (2) at the time of your marriage ceremony you did not know, and a reasonable person would not have known, of the divorce, and (3) since discovering the divorce, you have not voluntarily cohabited with your spouse. A Petition for Annulment under this ground must be brought prior to your first wedding anniversary.
6. Marriage Less Than 72 Hours After Issuance of License6: Lastly, you can obtain an annulment if your marriage ceremony took place during the 72-hour waiting period immediately following the issuance of your marriage license. A Petition for Annulment must be brought under this ground within 30 days of the marriage.
If you believe that one of these circumstances may have existed prior to your marriage and wish to speak to an attorney about your options, please reach out and our office would be happy to speak with you about your case.
1 Tex. Fam. Code Ann. § 6.105.
2 Tex. Fam. Code Ann. § 6.106.
3 Tex. Fam. Code Ann. § 6.107.
4 Tex. Fam. Code Ann. § 6.108.
5 Tex. Fam. Code Ann. § 6.109.
6 Tex. Fam. Code Ann. § 6.110.