A divorce is the end of a marriage. An annulment is a declaration that the marriage has been cancelled-as if it never happened at all. Someone who received an annulment could truthfully list themselves as having never been married in legal documents, or on a dating web site. Some religions will allow an annulled person to remarry, but not a divorced person. The difference between a divorce and an annulment can also be worth a lot of money. For instance, Dan and Roseanne get married. The next day, Dan performs some carpentry and gets paid for it. On the way back to the house, he buys a lottery ticket. Its a winner! But unfortunately, Roseanne and he get in a huge fight when their favorite TV show gets cancelled, and neither of them want to be married anymore. If they get a divorce, Roseanne gets half the lottery winnings. If they get an annulment, Dan keeps every dime.
Texas does have annulments, but they are rare.
Texas does have annulments, but they are rare. Many people come to my office thinking that if they file withing six months, or a year, they can get an annulment instead of a divorce. That is not the case in Texas.
Here are the reasons you could qualify for an annulment:
- Marriage performed when one of the parties was under 18
- One or both of the parties was drunk or high during the wedding, and they have never lived together while sober since
- Impotency, provided that a) one party was permanently impotent at the time of the marriage; b) the other party did not know of the impotency; and c) they have never lived together after the impotency was discovered
- Fraud or duress
- Mental incapacity of one of the parties
- Unbeknownst to one of the parties, their new spouse had been divorced less than 30 days before the wedding, and they haven’t lived together since it was discovered
- The marriage occurred less than 72 hours after the marriage license was obtained and the suit for annulment is brought within 30 days
That’s it. In 24 years as a divorce attorney, I have completed one annulment. I have also successfully defeated a suit for an annulment. You just don’t see them very often.
Do you have a family law question that you would like to ask a Texas attorney? Post it in the comments section and you may receive your answer in a future video.