Shelander Law Offices

Annulment or divorce: for which should I file?

Do you need to dissolve your marriage but are not sure how to do it? In the state of Texas, you have two options. You can file for an annulment or you can pursue a divorce. Annulments are only possible in certain cases. What is the difference between a divorce and an annulment?

At the end of the day, an annulment and a divorce both work to legally end a marriage. The big difference is that, with an annulment, it is like the marriage never existed. Whereas, with divorce, the state recognizes that each party was in a valid marriage.

Who can get an annulment?

Not everyone can file for an annulment. Courts will only grant annulments when there is a reason to believe that marital unions were not legitimate in the first place. The following are generally acceptable reasons to file for an annulment:

  • Fraud: One spouse failed to be honest about something big before the marriage.
  • Concealment: One spouse hid some significant information before the marriage.
  • Lack of consent: One spouse was too young or lacked the mental capacity to really consent to the marriage.
  • Impotency: One spouse is impotent, and the other did not know until after they were married.
  • Incest: The spouses are too closely related.
  • Misunderstanding: Both spouses want very different things, and there was not an understanding of this before the marriage.

Generally, problems like these come to light early on in the marriage. However, there are individuals who have been in long-term marriages who may request annulments. In this type of situation, property, custody and support issues will need addressing just like in a traditional divorce case.

What happens if the court does not grant the request for an annulment?

If you wish to pursue an annulment and the courts fail to grant it, you can always switch to a divorce filing. You will still get out of your marriage, but, as previously stated, the court will not wipe out the fact that your marriage existed.

If you feel strongly about seeking an annulment as opposed to a divorce, legal counsel can review the details of your situation and help you file the annulment request if doing so is appropriate. There is certainly no harm in pursuing an annulment if that is what you desire, just understand there are very specific requirements for this type of marital dissolution request to be granted.

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Beaumont, Texas 77701

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