An annulment is a legal process that applies under very specific circumstances. Unlike a divorce, which ends a marriage, an annulment erases it, as if it never happened. A legal annulment is possible only when a marriage was not lawful when it took place.

There are many reasons why someone might prefer an annulment to a divorce, but annulment is not always possible. You can explore whether you have the option to annul your marriage with a Frisco annulment lawyer. An experienced family attorney could review your situation, determine whether it fits the grounds for an annulment, and guide you through the process to nullify your marriage.

Differences Between Divorce and Annulment

Both divorce and annulment legally dissolve a marital relationship, but there are significant differences between the two.

A divorce signifies a marriage has ended, and the parties are free to remarry 31 days after a divorce was granted. An annulment signifies there was never a legal marriage, and the parties are free to marry immediately after a court grants an annulment. A divorce can take many months to complete, while the annulment process is often much shorter.

People choose to get divorced because of events or feelings that arise after marriage, and they seek an annulment because of circumstances that existed at the time of the marriage. A Frisco annulment attorney could determine whether a divorce or annulment is the best choice in a particular situation.

Invalid Marriages May Be Anulled

Anyone seeking an annulment must provide a reason, and although the law offers couples no-fault grounds for divorce that do not require proof a marriage is untenable, a request for annulment requires evidence the marriage was invalid when it happened.

The legal age to marry in Texas is 18, although someone under 18 could marry with the consent of a parent or guardian. If someone under 16 marries or someone between 16 and 18 marries without parental consent, Texas Family Code §6.102 allows the underage spouse’s parent or guardian to seek an annulment. Other grounds for annulment include:

  • Impotence
  • Mental incapacity of either spouse
  • Marriage occurred within 30 days of a divorce
  • Married while subject to force, fraud, or duress
  • Married while under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Marriage occurred less than 72 hours after obtaining a marriage license
  • Bigamy—one spouse was already married when they entered the marriage to be annulled

The courts will also annul a marriage between a parent and child, siblings, or an aunt or uncle and their niece or nephew.

A spouse seeking an annulment must prove the ground they cite, and some grounds require proof the couple did not voluntarily cohabitate after the ground was discovered. A Frisco annulment lawyer could ensure a request for annulment meets all the applicable legal requirements.

Establishing Separate Lives After an Annulment

Disentangling a couple’s life is similar whether the couple ends their marriage through annulment or divorce. If they have acquired property or debt together, they must divide it, and they must plan to co-parent any children of the union.

Texas considers any property or debt acquired after a couple married to be community property that must be divided fairly. The split is not always 50/50. Factors like the marriage’s length, any marital misconduct, each spouse’s health and age, each spouse’s capacity to support themselves, and other factors influence the decision. Anyone seeking an annulment who has acquired property with their spouse should consult an annulment lawyer in Frisco about negotiating an appropriate property settlement.

An annulment essentially erases a marriage, but it does not delegitimize any children of the marriage. Children retain their rights to maintain a relationship with both parents, and parents continue their obligation to provide financial support. The parents must submit a plan for co-parenting that addresses where the children will live, when they will spend time with the non-residential parent, how the parents will allocate decision-making authority, and other issues. A judge must review the parenting plan to ensure it supports the children’s best interests and if it does, the court will issue a custody order implementing the plan.

Discuss Annulment with a Frisco Attorney

Annulments are possible in relatively few cases, but if you would prefer an annulment to divorce, it is worth exploring the option with a knowledgeable attorney. An experienced legal professional could review your circumstances and determine whether you are a candidate for an annulment.

Set up an appointment to discuss your options with a Frisco annulment lawyer today.

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Meet Matt Towson
Meet Matt Towson
Meet Matt Towson