Annulment Marriage vs. Void Marriage
The dissolution of marriages is a common happening in Texas Courts. Dissolution could occur through proceedings such as divorce or annulment. A marriage may also be considered completely void. What is the difference between a marriage dissolved by annulment and a marriage that is voided? Let’s see.
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Texas Marriages Dissolved by Annulments
Chapter 6 of the Texas Family Code allows an annulment in the following circumstances: annulment of marriage of a person under age 18; under the influence of narcotics; impotency; fraud, duress, or force; mental incapacity; concealed divorce; marriage less than 72 hours after issuance of license; and the death of party to voidable marriage (See Grounds for Annulment Article).
In short, an annulment occurs to end a marriage that was never valid to begin with.
Void Marriages in Texas
Annulments and void marriages are oftentimes confused. However, Section 6.201 through 6.206 of the Texas Family Code describes the instances in which a marriage can never occur. These instances will automatically make a marriage a void marriage.
Under the Texas Family Code, a marriage is void [never occurred] if: consanguinity exists; a marriage is entered into when either party is already married; marriage with one party being a minor; marriage entered into when either party is a stepchild or stepparent.
Section 6.201 of the Texas Family Code declares a marriage void due to consanguinity if,
one party to the marriage is related to the other as:
an ancestor or descendant, by blood or adoption;
a brother or sister, of the whole or half blood or by adoption;
a parent’s brother or sister, of the whole or half blood or by adoption; or
a son or daughter of a brother or sister, of the whole or half blood or by adoption.
In short, blood relatives are off-limits in Texas.
Marriage During Existence of Prior Marriage
Section 6.202 of the Texas Family Code declares a marriage void if, “entered into when either party has an existing marriage to another person that has not been dissolved by legal action or terminated by the death of the other spouse.”
If this circumstance exists, the Texas Code declares that the later marriage that is void under this section, becomes valid when the prior marriage is dissolved, and the new spouses live together as husband and wife.
Marriage to a Minor
Section 6.205 of the Texas Family Code declares a marriage void if, “either party to the marriage is younger than 16 years of age, unless a court order has been obtained under Section 2.103.”
Marriage to a Stepchild or Stepparent
Section 6.206 of the Texas Family Code declares a marriage void if, “a party is a current or former stepchild or stepparent of the other party.”
Annulments vs. Void Marriages
Void marriages are brought through a legal proceeding called a “suit to declare a marriage void”. In this proceeding, the court will look to actual facts that prevented the marriage from being legally formed. Voiding a marriage is as though the marriage never existed.
Although an annulment seems similar to a void marriage, especially because they both try to establish that no marriage existed; the Texas Family Code sets different standards for voiding a marriage versus annulling a marriage. A void marriage is automatically a marriage that is not legal, while that is not the case for marriages that are eligible for annulment.