To have a marriage annulled in Texas, the marriage must be “voidable”. This means that there must be something in the marriage that would make it invalid, but the couple could take steps to make the marriage valid — to “ratify” the marriage.
The most common way to ratify a voidable marriage is for the couple to live together as a married couple after learning of the issue. For example, a marriage can be annulled if one of the parties has been induced to marry. If that person discovers the trick and continues to live with their partner, they have effectively signaled that they are okay with the marriage despite the trick and have ratified it.
The grounds for cancellation in Texas are as follows:
- A spouse is under 18 at the time of the marriage and there was no derogation from the age condition. The spouse under 18 also does not have to be legally emancipated. In order to annul the marriage, the application for annulment must be made before both parties are over 18 or the court may not grant the annulment.
- Incapacity – which is the inability to consummate the marriage for physical or mental reasons – may be grounds for annulment. If the spouse requesting the annulment was aware of the condition before the marriage or continued to live with their spouse after learning of the impotence, the annulment will not proceed.
- A spouse being under the influence drugs or alcohol to the point that they lacked the capacity to marry may be grounds for annulment. After all, marriage is a contract. However, if they have sobered up and continued to live with their spouse as a married couple, this will ratify the marriage and an annulment will not be granted.
- Being cheated or forced to marry is grounds for cancellation. Again, however, the marriage will not be annulled if the person who was deceived or coerced continues to live with the other person as a married couple after the threat is lifted or the deception is discovered.
- Mental incapacity is grounds for invalidating any contract. When a person takes drugs, they recover their mental capacity when they sober up, but a person with a mental illness may never recover this capacity. A marriage can be annulled if one of the parties does not have the capacity to marry, but if they recover this capacity and ratify the marriage, it will not be annulled by the court.
- Some hidden facts about marriage can be grounds for cancellation – basically a form of deceiving someone that is spelled out by Texas law. Like other types of tricks, the spouse who was cheated on will not be able to annul the marriage if they continue to live with their spouse after finding out the truth. The specific hidden facts that Texas considers grounds for voidance in this situation are that one of the spouses divorced within 30 days of the marriage or that the marriage license was issued less than 72 hours before the marriage.
In the latter case, there are a few exceptions to the Texas rule requiring at least 72 hours between issuance of a license and a marriage. If either spouse is in the military or works for the Department of Defense, is taking a premarital education course, or obtains court clearance, marriage within 72 hours of the issuance of the license is not not grounds for cancellation.
You can request an annulment at any time as long as both spouses are alive. However, if the marriage happened too soon after a divorce, you only have one year to file for annulment. If this happened too soon after a marriage license was issued, the court will only consider an annulment within 30 days of the marriage. If a spouse was under 18 at the time of the marriage, the annulment must be filed before that person turns 18.