Valid Reasons for a Marriage Annulment in Texas

By Christine Funk, J.D.

Valid Reasons for a Marriage Annulment in Texas

By Christine Funk, J.D.

Texas allows for both divorce and annulments as legally valid ways to end marriages. The difference is that a divorce ends a legal marriage, whereas an annulment recognizes the marriage was not valid or legal at the time the ceremony was performed. An annulment makes it clear there was never a legal marriage. This can be important to some people for religious reasons. Other people find it important based on other facts or circumstances.

Man helping a couple sign documents

In Texas, one does not need a reason to divorce. However, for an annulment, one must meet certain specific legal grounds beyond simply wanting an annulment.

Grounds for Annulment in Texas

The state of Texas has seven different grounds which qualify for annulment. These include:

  • One party was under the age of 18 at the time of the marriage
  • One of them was under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the marriage
  • Either spouse is permanently impotent
  • One spouse subjected the other spouse to fraud, force, or duress in order to compel the marriage
  • Either spouse lacked the mental capacity necessary to enter into a marriage
  • Either spouse concealed a prior divorce
  • Within 72 hours of the issuance of the marriage license, the couple was married

Furthermore, there are two situations in Texas that are referred to as void marriages, which mean that the marriage was invalid from the beginning. These include if one party is already married to someone else, or if the spouses have a certain level of relatedness. However, void marriages are different from annulment. For example, just because someone has grounds for an annulment doesn't mean that the marriage will be annulled. On the other hand, void marriages are never legal.

Depending on the grounds for the annulment, Texas imposes different requirements. In all circumstances, one must petition the court for the annulment. Further, one must offer proof in support of their assertions of the grounds for the annulment.

Under Age Annulment Requirements

A petition must be filed by a “next friend" of the underage person within 90 days of the marriage. In the alternative, a parent or guardian may file a petition within any time prior to the minor's 18th birthday. However, an annulment is not assured. A court will consider the welfare of both spouses in granting or not granting the annulment. Whether the wife is pregnant is a specific consideration for the court.

Under the Influence Annulment Requirements

First, the petitioner will have to establish they were under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or a combination of both to such a point they were unable to consent to the marriage. Further, they must establish that, upon regaining their sobriety, they ceased living with their spouse.

Impotence Annulment Requirements

When one person to the marriage is unable to engage in sexual intercourse, this is a grounds for divorce only if the petitioner was unaware of this condition at the time of the marriage. Further, it must be shown that the impotent person is permanently impotent for either physical or mental reasons.

Fraud, Force, or Duress Annulment Requirements

Fraud involves an intentional and significant misrepresentation by one person, designed to convince the other to marry them. One establishes duress or force by showing there was conduct on one person's part which left the petitioner no choice but to marry. To obtain an annulment here, one cannot have lived with the spouse once the duress or force is not longer present.

Mental Incapacity Annulment Requirements

One who lacked mental capacity to consent to marriage can have an annulment so long as they no longer live with their spouse once they regain mental capacity. One who married someone who lacked mental capacity, and did not know or reasonably could not have known that their spouse lacked the mental capacity, may have an annulment if they no longer lived with the party once they discovered the lack of capacity.

Concealed Divorce Annulment Requirements

If one of them did not know of a prior divorce within 30 days of the date of the marriage, they may qualify for an annulment. However, they cannot have lived with that person once they discovered the prior divorce. Further, they must apply for annulment within one year of the marriage.

72 Hour Rule

Typically, couples may not marry within 72 hours of getting a marriage license. The annulment petition must be filed within 30 days of the marriage.

This portion of the site is for informational purposes only. The content is not legal advice. The statements and opinions are the expression of author, not LegalZoom, and have not been evaluated by LegalZoom for accuracy, completeness, or changes in the law.

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