- Annulment vs. divorce differences in Texas
- What are the grounds for an annulment?
- What is the process?
- When can you apply?
- Why would you apply for an annulment?
- How much does it cost?
- Pros and cons of an annulment in Texas
An annulment is a legal process that invalidates your Texas marriage. The court examines what happened before your wedding and determines that officials should never have recognized your union.
After an annulment, you’re officially single once again. You’re not divorced because your marriage never happened. From a legal standpoint, you were never married.
How is an annulment different from a divorce in Texas?
Both divorces and annulments end marriages. But they are different legal remedies for people in Texas.
You can use annulment to end a marriage that never should have happened in the first place. You must prove why that wedding was invalid, which often means proving someone did something wrong.
You can also use divorce to end a marriage, and you don’t have to prove anyone did anything wrong to get one. At the end of the divorce process, you become divorced. You can get married again, but your status remains divorced until you do so.
What are the grounds for requesting a Texas annulment?
Texas courts officiate marriages, and they require proof before they declare them invalid. That proof is called grounds.
You may have grounds to ask for an annulment if one of these situations applies to your marriage:
- One of you was younger than 18 on your wedding day.
- One of you was under the influence of alcohol or drugs when you got married.
- One of you is permanently impotent.
- One of you used fraud or force to make the other get married, including hiding a prior divorce.
- One of you doesn't have the mental capacity to agree to the marriage.
- You got married less than 72 hours after you got the marriage license.
If you don't meet one of these criteria, you could still get a divorce, but you can't ask for an annulment.
What is the process for getting a Texas annulment?
Getting a Texas annulment requires following a step-by-step process:
- Choose your court. You should file in the county where the majority of the issues leading to the annulment took place.
- Fill out the form. Use the Petition to Annul Marriage form.
- File your documents. Make two copies of the document, and bring all three to the court. The clerk will stamp them.
- Ask your spouse to sign. A Waiver of Service form proves that your spouse is aware you're annulling the marriage and will not fight you.
- Fill out the final documents. Fill out the Decree of Annulment with your spouse. You both must sign it.
- Go to court. Ask the court when your annulment hearing is scheduled. Go to court on that day with your spouse.
- Turn in papers. The judge will sign your documents at the hearing. Bring those signed documents to the clerk and file them.
When can you apply for a Texas annulment?
No formal annulment time limit exists for a Texas annulment. But typically, you should apply as soon as you have grounds.
Most annulment grounds involve some kind of fraud. As soon as you know about these issues, you must disclose them. Otherwise, you may seem part of the deception, and getting an annulment could be harder.
Why would you apply for a Texas annulment?
Your partner should be honest with you before your wedding. If someone has lied to you, pressured you, or otherwise forced you to enter a marriage against your better judgment, you have the right to end this union. An annulment makes that possible.
In some cultures, annulment is preferable to divorce. If you want to get married again, some religious traditions will block that union, as they consider your first marriage valid forever.
How much does it cost?
To file for an annulment, you must pay a filing fee. That amount varies from court to court, but it’s typically measured in hundreds of dollars and not thousands. If your spouse agrees to work with you, you may not have added fees stemming from lawyers and long court cases.
Pros and cons of annulment in Texas
An annulment is a quick and effective way to end a marriage that should never have happened. This process can help you regain your single status and independence after a partner lied to you or forced you into a marriage.
An annulment can require proof. You must demonstrate why your union wasn't valid, and sometimes, that proof can be hard to obtain. Getting it can also be painful, and disclosing it in public could be embarrassing.
A divorce allows you to maintain your privacy in that you're not required to offer proof of the breakdown of your marriage. While divorces take longer, they could be right for some people.
Need guidance? Schedule a free consultation with our team.
ReferencesAnnulling a Marriage in Texas. (January 2023). TexasLawHelp.org.
I Want to Annul or Void My Marriage. (January 2023). TexasLawHelp.org.
Court Fees and Fee Waivers. (January 2023). TexasLawHelp.org.