You need to avoid the difficulties of making quick and rash decisions when it comes to marriage.
Unlike divorce, an annulment will void the marriage as if it never happened. It’s a retroactive measure, and in Texas, the state’s family code is very specific on the conditions under which an annulment can be granted and the timeframe in which it can occur. For example, to annul a marriage because one party is under 18 years of age, a petition for annulment must be filed within 90 days after the date of the marriage.
Marriage Taking Place Under the Influence of Alcohol/Drugs
There is a wide range of situations covered in the statute where an annulment can be granted by a court. One such circumstance is a marriage that takes place under the influence of alcohol or narcotics. This will cause many to think of Las Vegas, where a couple who’ve recently met, enjoy a night on the town and end up getting married late at night in a chapel just off the strip. If the petitioner, the one filing to annul the marriage, has not lived with the other person after the effects of the alcohol or drugs wear off, a case for annulment can be made.
Avoid Rushing to the Altar
In Texas, you are supposed to wait 72 hours after you get your marriage license to say “I do”. If you rushed to the altar before the waiting period had elapsed, your marriage can be annulled if you file your request within 30 days of the marriage. However, if you are marrying someone in the military the waiting period is waived. When you purchase your marriage license, make sure you have your active Military ID card with you. In Texas you can visit your local county clerk’s office or go online to find out more information, if you’re in Houston you can visit the Harris County Clerk’s website.
Many of the other situations covered under the statute are much more somber. A spouse that finds their partner to be impotent can request an annulment, as long as the petitioner can prove that he or she was unaware of the impotency prior to marriage. In today’s age with alternatives such as adoption and in-vitro fertilization, marriages don’t have to come to an end, as a happy and fulfilling family life can be attained if both parties desire.
Section 6.109 of the statute provides for an annulment when a marriage occurs less than 30 days after your new spouse was officially divorced. In most cases your partner is a soulmate and best friend, someone you’ve known for years before tying the knot. If a marriage is made hastily it can reveal a situation where one party to the marriage is hiding important details of their past. As with other areas of the statute the petitioner must demonstrate that once being informed of their spouse’s recent divorce, that they ceased to voluntarily cohabit with them. It’s also important to note that a suit may NOT be brought under this section after the first anniversary of marriage. Time is of the essence in these matters.
Marriage Involving a Person Under the Age of 18
Three sections of the statute deal with situations where one of the parties to the marriage is under the age of 18. A court may grant an annulment where a person was married at 16 years of age or older and under the age of 18 without the consent of their parents.
Persons under the age of 18 are considered minors unless they’ve petitioned the court and been awarded an order that removes the “disabilities of being a minor”. With this type of order in hand, the court will treat the minor as an adult even though they haven’t met the age requirement.
One can think of situations where this section of the statute would apply. A teenager who becomes pregnant, a boyfriend who is embarking on a bright college career, parents who for religious reasons or based on principle want the two to get married and have the child. The young couple may even live with parents on one side of the family or the other, until they can get their feet on the ground.
When can a Marriage be Declared Void?
The Texas Family Code statute does provide for situations where a marriage can be void outside of annulment. There are circumstances that cause certain marriages to be void and not recognized as legal from their inception. These rules are largely based on public policy.
If one enters into a marriage when either spouse is still married, and before a pending divorce is granted, the new marriage is invalid. If you have questions about getting married again you should speak to a Family Law Attorney. You need to avoid the difficulties of making quick and rash decisions when it comes to marriage.
A marriage is void if one marries a person to whom they are related as:
- An ancestor or descendant, by blood or adoption;
- A brother or sister, of the whole or half blood, or by adoption;
- A parent’s brother or sister of the whole or half blood or by adoption;
- A son or daughter of a brother or sister of the whole or half blood or by adoption.
With the advent of the internet and the wealth of information available at our fingertips you can do your own research on topics such as marriage and annulment. As with many areas of the law however, it’s best to speak to an attorney before making any decisions and taking any action.