While many people generally understand the process of divorce in Texas, few know the specifics of annulment.
There are only a few circumstances in which a couple can annul a marriage in Texas.
However, an annulment might be your best option depending on the details surrounding your marriage.
Overview of an Annulment
Unlike a divorce, an annulment is a legal ruling that a marriage was never valid. However, Texas law requires a spouse to show grounds for filing an annulment. Grounds for an annulment in Texas include:
- Underage marriage,
- Duress or force,
- Fraud, or
- Mental illness.
If you can prove any of these grounds, you may be eligible for an annulment in Texas.
How to Get an Annulment in Texas
There are several steps you and your lawyer must take to file for an annulment in Texas. Before you file, either you or your spouse must have lived in Texas for at least six consecutive months.
First, you must petition the court for an annulment. You need to file your petition in the county where you or your spouse resides. The petition must name you and your spouse, list your children, and state when you stopped living together. You must also list any property that needs dividing.
Next, you need to notify your spouse of the filed annulment. To do this, you can ask a sheriff or process server to serve your spouse with a court summons. Make sure to do this as soon as possible after filing for your annulment. If you don’t know where your spouse is, your attorney will ask the court for the option to post a notice in the newspaper.
Finally, you need to go to court and present your argument for annulment. Usually, this is only presented in front of a judge, but it can be presented in front of a jury in uncommon cases. If you win your case, the court will ask you to complete a decree of annulment and give it to the judge.
How Long Do You Have to Annul a Marriage?
In most cases, you may file for an annulment in Texas as long as both spouses are alive. However, if any of the following apply to you, there is a statute of limitations:
- If you get married within 72 hours after filing for a marriage certificate, you have 30 days to file for annulment;
- If one spouse was under 18 when you got married, you have until that spouse turns 18 to file for annulment; and
- If you didn’t know your spouse divorced within 30 days of your marriage, you have until your first anniversary to file for annulment.
In addition, you cannot file for a marriage annulment in Texas if you continued to live with your spouse after discovering their offensive conduct.
What Happens When I Get an Annulment in Texas?
When a judge signs your decree of annulment in Texas, your marriage is declared void. This means that you can legally say that you were never married. However, the judge usually decides issues regarding child custody, visitation, alimony, and property division during the annulment process in court.
What Is the Cost?
The cost of a marriage annulment in Texas ranges from the hundreds of dollars to thousands of dollars depending on the circumstances. For example, if your spouse tries to fight your annulment, you might need to hire a lawyer to represent you in court.
Contact an Experienced Texas Family Law Attorney Today
Filing for a marriage annulment in Texas is a complex process that often makes it difficult for troubled spouses to get the outcome they deserve. At Larson Law Office, our Texas family law attorneys know the ins and outs of annulment in Texas and will help you every step of the way. To set up a free consultation, give us a call at 713-221-9088.