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The difference between annulment and divorce

| Jan 11, 2021 | Divorce |

The prominence of divorce as a method for ending marriages might make it appear that no other way of terminating a marriage exists. It is true that many people who want to end their unions use divorce. Still, in some circumstances, a spouse may seek an annulment instead.

Annulling a marriage is not the same as divorce. A divorcing couple usually had the legal right to marry in the first place. By contrast, an annulment often happens when a married couple never should have tied the knot in the first place. Texas law explains certain scenarios in which someone may annul a marriage.

Marrying someone who cannot consent

Anyone who marries should be able to consent to it. Someone who ingests too much alcohol or drugs and then sobers up only to find that he or she married someone under the influence could not have offered consent. There are also individuals who suffer from mental disabilities and do not understand they can refuse a marriage proposal, or perhaps lack comprehension of marriage at all.

In addition, individuals who are underage lack the ability to consent to a marriage. A court may annul underage marriages. This including voiding unions of those who are younger than 18 but older than 16 and did not marry without the consent of a parent or a court order.

Using trickery or coercion

Even if someone has the mental capacity to understand marriage, a partner may coerce someone into marriage or use deception in order to trick the person into tying the knot. This may include the following:

  • Concealing impotency
  • Concealing a divorce within the past thirty days
  • Using fraud in such a way to induce marriage
  • Using force or duress to coerce a marriage

A person may also hide the fact that he or she is already married to someone else. In such a circumstance, a court will consider the marriage illegal since bigamy is not allowed under law. Similarly, a court will void a marriage if someone marries a blood relative like a parent, a sibling or an aunt or uncle.