Can I Get an Annulment?
A very common question that we get when someone consults with our office is whether they are entitled to an annulment. An annulment is basically a court order stating that the marriage was never valid. Essentially it is a do-over, as though the marriage never happened.
Typically, when clients ask about whether an annulment is possible the marriage is still very new. The client thinks that since the marriage is so short so they should have the option of annulling it instead of having to get divorced. Assuming no or very little community property was accumulated during the short marriage in most of these cases there may be very little difference in the actual outcome in financial terms, regardless of whether a divorce or an annulment is granted.
The reality is that annulments are very rare and the statutory grounds in Texas are extremely limited. Under Texas Family Code Chapter 6 there are very limited circumstances that allow for an annulment:
- certain underage marriages
- party lacked capacity due to intoxication at time of marriage
- hidden impotency at time of marriage
- fraud, duress or force causing the Petitioner to enter the marriage
- party lacked mental capacity to understand the nature of the marriage ceremony
- party concealed a divorce that occurred within 30 days of the marriage
- marriage occurred prior to the passing of the 72 hour waiting period after the issuance of the marriage license
Note that each of these grounds for annulment have additional requirements, including but not limited to the requirement that the party seeking the annulment has not voluntarily cohabited with the other party since the marriage.
So the bad news about annulments is that they are extremely difficult to obtain because the statutory grounds are so limited. The good news is that a case where one might consider seeking an annulment is usually a case where the divorce should be very simple due to the short nature of the marriage and the likelihood that little or no community property would have been accumulated.
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