What Is The Difference Between Divorce and Annulment?

by | Nov 9, 2022 | DWI, Family Law

Midlothian, United States – /McCarty-Larson, PLLC/

Dissolution of marriage is a very sensitive and complex process. Several circumstances lead to the breakdown of a marriage; infidelity, financial problems, or irreconcilable differences. Whatever the reason, ending a marriage is a difficult decision that results in a situation that is emotionally, physically, and financially draining. 

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Once the decision to end a marriage is made, it is best to get advice from a knowledgeable and experienced divorce attorney. McCarty-Larson, PLLC is the top divorce law firm in Ellis, Johnson, and Tarrant Counties. They represent both simple and complex divorces. McCarty-Larson, PLLC has a family law team that understands how overwhelming divorce can be. This family law firm strives to help clients reach a fair settlement with the slightest animosity and drama. 

The difference between divorce and annulment

What is Divorce?

Divorce ends a legal marriage. A divorce brings a marriage to an end and is legally accepted and represented by the state. After a divorce, both parties are legally single and can enter new marital relationships if they desire. Divorce also helps resolve resulting issues like child custody, division of assets obtained during the marriage, and payment of alimony. 

Reasons for divorce

Common causes of divorce are adultery, imprisonment, abandonment, abuse, and conflicts between spouses. When children, assets, and finances are involved, divorce disputes become more complicated and can get personal. 

What is an annulment?

An annulment is not as simple as many assume. An annulment is a statement that declares the marriage that existed was not legal, and should never have happened, making the marriage null and void. 

A civil annulment is a declaration that a marriage never occurred. It is the preferred way to end a marriage for people who got married without the knowledge of situations that, if they had known, would have stopped them from getting married. However, some conditions must be met for a court to grant an annulment rather than a divorce. Each state has annulment laws that may differ slightly from other states. In Texas, the person requesting annulment can demand a jury trial. Some grounds for annulment in Texas are the following:

Fraud or misrepresentation: A spouse lying about matters significant to a marital relationship. For example, hiding the fact that they are married or have children from a previous marriage for whom they are responsible. 

Concealment: Hiding a major fact from a spouse that impacts their life, like their being convicted felon.

Impotence: A spouse deliberately hiding that they were impotent, despite knowing it before marriage, is grounds for annulment. 

Lack of consent: If one spouse did not have the mental capacity to consent to get married, or if one of them was forced against their will into the marriage. 

Misunderstanding is when an individual wants something that the other does not, and it is a significant life-changing decision or condition. 

Underage marriage: A person over the age of 16 and below 18 who was married without a court order or parental consent is a condition for annulment.

Influence of drugs or alcohol: People get married when under the influence of drugs or alcohol. An annulment may be granted in this case.

An annulment may be granted if a recent divorce from a third party (within 30 days or less) was undisclosed to the current spouse. 

A marriage that took place before the 72-hour waiting period (which is the time that must elapse between issuance of a marriage license and the ceremony) in Texas is over unless there are exceptions that permission was given. 

Texas has annulment requirements following the Texas Family Code. Not consummating the marriage or cohabitation after marriage are included in these requirements.

Because Texas is a community property state, assets and dates accumulated during the marriage are divided equitably. But, annulments do not give a legal division of property as it declares that a legal marriage never existed.

Timing is also crucial in annulment. The longer the married people live together and the more assets they earn, the more likely a divorce will be needed rather than an annulment. Contrary to what many think, getting an annulment is not easy in Texas. Courts uphold the state’s beliefs in the sanctity of marriage. 

In legal annulments, the marriage has to be voidable, in contrast to marriages that were void from the beginning. Polygamous and forced marriages are illegal and void in Texas and do not need to be annulled.

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It is essential to understand the best way to end a marriage. Having a divorce lawyer to handhold through the process is important. It ensures a better understanding and resolution of complicated issues, including child custody and support, property division, visitation rights, etc. McCarty-Larson, PLLC, ensures that a divorce lawyer works to resolve disagreements amicably. But this family law firm is always ready to fight for clients’ best interests when needed. For valuable assistance in family law and better insight into making the right decisions for the family, McCarty-Larson, PLLC in Midlothian, TX, can be approached. Call (972) 775-2100 for an appointment to discuss legal representation in family law matters by McCarty-Larson, PLLC.