What is the difference between a divorce and an annulment in Texas?
Both are ways to legally end a marriage, but one stays on record whereas the other does not due to specific circumstances. Similar to many areas of law, the laws governing annulment and divorce vary by state. Here we break down the differences between the two in the state of Texas.
The main differentiating factor between a divorce and an annulment is that annulments act as a full cancellation of a marriage, which will void the union as if the marriage never occurred at all. From a legal standpoint, an annulment classifies a marriage as having never existed. There are specific grounds that will qualify someone to file for an annulment specific to the state of Texas, including:
- Marriage between under aged individuals
- The influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the marriage
- Involvement of fraud, duress or force
- Mental incapacity
- One of the parties gets married but is still married to another, or
- Marriage occurs less than 72 hours after the issuance of the marriage license
If a marriage involves any of the above factors, there could be grounds for invalidating the union.
Unlike annulment, when a divorce is finalized, there will always be a legal record of the marriage for both parties involved. A spouse can file for divorce for a variety of reasons that are not as specific as those related to an annulment. Divorce is handled at the state level, and also has grounds that are specific to Texas. A basis for divorce in Texas does not require either spouse to prove any kind of evidence that the other party is at fault in any way. Essentially, a person can file for divorce just on the premise that they no longer get along with their spouse.
In summary, a marriage can be annulled if specific circumstances are present. A divorce is more common, as the criteria that must be met to file are not as limited. Whether you find yourself needing an annulment, divorce, or you are unsure which to move forward with, the family law attorneys of Hendershot, Cannon, Martin & Hisey, P.C. can help guide you.