What are the Grounds for Annulment in Texas?

You need to avoid the trouble of making quick and hasty decisions when it comes to marriage.

In contrast to divorce, a marriage is annulled as if it had never happened. It’s a retroactive measure, and in Texas the state family code is very specific about the terms under which a waiver can be granted and the time frame in which it can occur. For example, to annul a marriage because one party is under the age of 18, an application for annulment must be submitted within 90 days of the marriage date.

The marriage takes place under the influence of alcohol / drugs

The law covers a variety of situations where waiver can be granted by a court. One such circumstance is a marriage that takes place under the influence of alcohol or narcotics. This will make many think of Las Vegas, where a couple who recently met are enjoying a night on the town and getting married late at night in a chapel right on the Strip. If the petitioner seeking marriage annulment has not lived with the other person after the effects of alcohol or drugs have subsided, a motion for annulment may be filed.

Avoid rushing to the altar

In Texas, wait 72 hours after getting your marriage certificate to say “I do”. If you rushed to the altar before the waiting period expired, your marriage can be annulled if you apply within 30 days of the marriage. However, if you marry someone in the military, there is no waiting time. When purchasing your marriage certificate, make sure you have your active military ID with you. In Texas, you can visit your local district clerk’s office or go online for more information. Whilst in Houston you can visit the Harris County Clerk website.


Many of the other situations covered by the law are much more dire. A spouse who finds that their partner is impotent can apply for a declaration of invalidity, provided the petitioner can show that they did not notice the impotence before the marriage. In this day and age with alternatives such as adoption and in vitro fertilization, marriages need not come to an end as happy and fulfilling family life can be achieved if both parties so choose.

Covert divorce

Section 6.109 of the Act provides for annulment if a marriage is concluded less than 30 days after your new spouse’s official divorce. In most cases, your partner is a soul mate and best friend that you have known for years before you tied the knot. When a marriage is entered into hastily, it can expose a situation where one party to the marriage is hiding important details of their past. As in other areas of the Statute, the petitioner has to show that, after being informed of his spouse’s recent divorce, he no longer voluntarily cohabits with him. It is also important to note that a suit may NOT be brought under this section after the first anniversary of marriage. Time is of the essence in these matters.

Marriage to someone under the age of 18

Three sections of the statute deal with situations where one of the parties to the marriage is under the age of 18. A court may grant a waiver if a person aged 16 or older and under 18 was married without the consent of their parents.

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Persons under the age of 18 are considered minors, unless they have filed an application with the court and received an order that removes the “disability of the minor”. With this type of order, the court will treat the minor as an adult even though he does not meet the age requirement.

One can envision situations in which this section of the Statute would apply. A teenager getting pregnant, a friend embarking on a brilliant college career, parents who, religiously or on principle, want them to marry and have the child. The young couple can even live with parents on one side of the family or the other until their feet are on the ground.

When can a marriage be declared null and void?

Texas Family Code law provides for situations in which a marriage outside of annulment may be void. There are circumstances that result in certain marriages being void and not recognized as legal from the start. These rules are largely based on public order.

If you marry while either spouse is still married and before an impending divorce is granted, the new marriage is void. If you have any questions about remarriage, you should consult a family law attorney. You need to avoid the trouble of making quick and hasty decisions when it comes to marriage.

A marriage is void if you marry someone to whom you are related as:

  1. An ancestor or descendant by blood or adoption;
  2. A full- or half-blooded brother or sister, or by adoption;
  3. The brother or sister of a full- or half-blood parent or by adoption;
  4. A son or daughter of a brother or sister of full blood or half-blood, or by adoption.

With the advent of the internet and the wealth of information available to us, you can do your own research on topics such as marriage and annulment. However, as in many areas of law, it is best to speak to an attorney before making any decisions and taking action.

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