September 11, 2014 | Share
Divorce v. Annulment: Grounds for each and the impact of each on the parties
Both a divorce and an annulment result in the dissolution of a marriage. A divorce ends a valid marriage, while an annulment ends a marriage that can be deemed not valid. While the effect of a divorce is to result in two parties that are no longer married, the effect of an annulment is to return the two parties to the status they held prior to their marriage; i.e. one when they were never married.
Collin County divorce attorneys explain that you no longer need to state grounds when filing for divorce; all fifty states now have some version of a no-fault divorce. The only requirements are jurisdictional; i.e. the party must reside in Texas for at least six months prior to filing, and live in the county where filing for at least 90 days preceding the filing. If, however, the party wishes to cite grounds for the divorce, adultery, cruelty, abandonment, or living apart for three years are among those that Texas recognizes.
Two Types of Annulments: Civil vs Religious
There are two types of annulments: civil and religious. The grounds for a civil annulment are those things which invalidate the consent or the union. For example, any type of fraud or misrepresentation such as not being the age of consent, being married to someone else at the time of the marriage, or marrying solely to obtain citizenship would all invalidate the consent. Coercion (e.g. forcing someone to marry because they are pregnant) or concealment (hiding a major fact such as a substance abuse problem or a felony conviction) also invalidate the consent. A misunderstanding, such as when one party desires children but the other does not, or consanguinity, when the parties are too closely related to be married, invalidate the union; the consent may have been valid but the union could not be due to factual or legal reasons. These are all bases for a civil annulment.
A religious annulment also returns parties to their pre-marriage status of never having been married. Grounds for a religious annulment include those for a civil annulment discussed above, but also include additional grounds showing a lack of intent and/or capacity to form a sacramental union at the time of the marriage. If, for example, it can be shown that one of the parties lacked the necessary mindset and maturation level for a lifetime commitment when marrying, or if one of the parties never really committed to a shared life but continued to live as if still single, then the marriage could be annulled and the parties would be free to remarry within the church.
Collin County divorce attorneys note that although the effect of an annulment is to void a marriage, children born of void marriages are still considered legitimate. Annulments do not affect the legal rights of children; children from void marriages retain the legal right to be financially supported by both parents and to inherit from either.
If you are considering ending your marriage and have questions regarding what process is appropriate, contact Collin County divorce attorneys at Nordhaus Walpole, PLLC.
Categories: Family Law & Divorce