Annulment is a very limited legal avenue to use in place of divorce, although both parties should consult with an experienced family law attorney prior to taking steps to annul a marriage to determine whether the parties meet the requirements for annulment. There are various legal grounds for an annulment, although each party must meet the specific legal tests. An experienced family law attorney can assist you in determining whether you fall within these strict confines.
Grounds for Annulment
An annulment may be allowed in the case of a person who was married before they reached the age of 18, if the marriage occurred without parental consent or court order. However, once the individual reaches the age of 18, they may not be entitled to receive an annulment. Additionally, a court may use discretion to determine whether to grant the annulment in regards to the underage marriage, including the consideration of facts such as the welfare of both parties and whether the woman is pregnant.
An annulment may also be issued if either individual was under the influence of alcohol or narcotics and therefore had no capacity to consent. If one party did not have the mental capacity to consent to marriage at the time of the marriage, then a court will often grant the annulment. Texas also allows an annulment when one party used fraud, duress, or force to initiate the marriage.
It may also be grounds for an annulment if one party concealed a divorce from the other party. Under Texas law, one person cannot remarry within 30 days of a divorce. However, a suit for annulment cannot be brought on these grounds if one year has passed since the date of marriage.
One of the more common and well-known grounds for annulment includes an annulment brought within 72 hours of the issuance of the marriage license. The suit for annulment will be barred if more than 30 days of marriage have passed.
Finally, the death of one party will bar the annulment. Sometimes the death of a party during an annulment will complicate annulment proceedings, such as annulments which are brought on the basis of lack of mental capacity. A suit for annulment in this case must be brought within one year of death. Many annulments relating to the lack of mental capacity and the death of one party may be brought by a close family member who has an interest in the family affairs. For example, the children of an elderly person who is in a retirement home may have standing to bring a claim for annulment against an individual who forced their family member into a marriage despite their lack of mental capacity. In these situations, the inheritance may be affected and therefore the family members will have standing to bring a claim for annulment.
Malley Law Firm | Houston Annulment Attorney
If you have questions regarding whether your marriage may fall within the legal grounds to seek annulment, do not hesitate to contact the attorneys of the Malley Law Firm. Our attorneys have years of experience in handling annulment proceedings, and will assist you in determining whether your marriage falls within the limited criteria for an annulment. Contact our Houston or Beaumont offices today for your initial free consultation.