If you have decided that you no longer want to be married, you have two potential options for bringing your marriage to an end: If your circumstances permit, you can file for an annulment. If you are not eligible to file for an annulment under Texas law, then you will need to file for a divorce. Here, our McKinney family lawyers explain the differences between annulments and divorces and provide an overview of the circumstances in which each of these options is available.

Annulment vs. Divorce: What’s the Difference?

The fundamental difference between an annulment and a divorce has to do with the consequences of going through the process. When you obtain an annulment, for legal purposes, you were never married. An annulment “voids” your marriage, and you do not have to deal with property division, alimony and many of the other issues that are involved in getting a divorce.

 In contrast, a divorce brings your marriage to an end. Your marriage is not “void,” it is simply over. As a result, you must address things like property division and alimony during the divorce process, and you must be careful to ensure that you don’t give away too much in your divorce.

When Can You File for an Annulment in Texas?

Given that getting an annulment avoids the complexities of going through a divorce, why aren’t annulments more common? The answer to this question is simple, though perhaps not obvious: The grounds for obtaining an annulment are limited under Texas law.

In order to file for an annulment, you must be able to prove that at least one of the grounds for obtaining an annulment applies to your marriage. These grounds include (but are not limited to):

  • Being intoxicated at the time of your marriage;
  • Getting married less than 72 hours after receiving your marriage license;
  • Your spouse being diagnosed with permanent impotency or mental incapacity; and,
  • You or your spouse was already married at the time of your marriage ceremony.

When Can You File for a Divorce in Texas?

Unlike an annulment, there are not specific grounds for obtaining a divorce in Texas. While Texas still recognizes certain fault-based grounds for divorce, you can also seek a divorce based on “irreconcilable differences.” If you no longer wish to be married, you can file for divorce; and, once you complete the process, your marriage will be legally terminated.

Due to the limited grounds for seeking an annulment, most people who want to end their marriages file for divorce. Due to the challenges (and limited benefits) involved in proving marital fault, most spouses file for divorce on the basis of “irreconcilable differences.” If you have questions about your options or would like more information about filing for an annulment or a divorce in Texas, we invite you to schedule a free consultation.

Schedule a Free Consultation with One of Our McKinney Family Lawyers

Are you ready to speak with a family lawyer about ending your marriage? If so, we encourage you to get in touch. To speak with one of our McKinney family lawyers in confidence, please call 214-726-1450 or inquire online today.