According to the Pew Research Center, Texas has the second highest rate of underage marriage in the United States. If the parents disagree with the marriage or when the couple wants to call it quits, the marriage can be void through an annulment.
Annulling a marriage on the grounds of being under 18 needs to be done quickly. There is a limited window for when an annulment can be granted for an underage marriage. This will all depend on the age of the minor and who is petitioning on their behalf.
Harris County Annulment Attorney
There are strict guidelines for a marriage to be annulled in Texas. An experienced family law attorney can help you determine if your marriage is eligible for an annulment. Schedule a confidential consultation with the family law department at The Gonzalez Law Group. Call (832) 530-4070.
The Gonzalez Law Group assist clients with family law matters in areas throughout Harris County including Galena Park, Webster, Brookside Village, Alvin and numerous others.
- What is an Annulment?
- Requirements for Annulling Underage Marriage
- How to File for Annulment in Texas
- Additional Resources
What is an Annulment?
People are mistaken when they believe an annulment is an alternative to a divorce. For starters, a divorce terminates a valid marriage, while an annulment ends a marriage that should have never been valid in the first place. When a judge grants an annulment, the marriage is considered to have never legally existed.
Unlike divorce, you can claim you were never married following an annulment. But, a judge can still make decisions regarding divorce-related issues. These issues include property division, child custody and alimony.
Children born from an illegitimate wedding are still considered legitimate. This means they have the same rights as children in a valid marriage. Some of these rights include the rights to inheritance from either parent and the right to be financially supported.
Requirements for Annulling Underage Marriage
Numerous requirements will need to be met for a judge to grant an annulment. For one, the annulment must be filed before the minor’s 18thbirthday. Also, the person seeking the annulment must be between the ages of 16 and 18 and they must have married without parental consent or a court order.
Since the person seeking the annulment is under 18, numerous people can file on behalf of the minor. The following individuals can file a petition for an annulment of an underage marriage:
- A parent
- Managing conservator or guardian
- A next friend for the benefit of the underage spouse
A next friend, often a relative, is someone who voluntarily assists the minor with legal matters. When a next friend is filing on behalf of the minor, they must do so within 90 days from the date of the marriage. Any of the individuals mentioned above have the legal authority to file for annulment with or without the permission of the minor.
How to File for an Annulment in Texas
The first step in filing for an annulment in Texas is to contact an annulment attorney. They can ensure the proper steps are taken to ensure the underage marriage is successfully annulled.
An annulment can be requested by submitting a form called a suit to declare void the marriage. This petition needs to be filed in the county where the couple lived or where the marriage took place. Also, the couple must have married in Texas and one of the spouses is required to live in Texas.
After all the necessary forms have been filed, the other spouse will need to fill out and sign a respondent’s original answer or a waiver of service only. A Decree of annulment can also be signed if both spouses agree to annul the marriage. All of the documents will need to be brought to court so the annulment can be finalized.
The marriage will be officially annulled once the judge signs the decree of annulment and it’s filed with the clerk’s office. This is just a broad overview of the annulment process. Contact an experienced family law attorney for a more in-depth explanation of the process.
Additional Resources for Under 18 Annulment
Grounds for Annulment | Texas Family Code– Visit the Texas Constitution and Statutes website to find out when a marriage can be annulled. You can also learn about the jurisdiction for an annulment and the grounds for a divorce.
Annulment: Answers to Common Questions– Follow the link provided to view a list of commonly asked questions regarding annulments. You can find answers to questions such as what an annulment is, what if children are involved and where a petition for annulment can be filed.
Annulment Lawyer in Harris County
Filing for an underage annulment can be a tricky process. The Gonzalez Law Group will help guide you through the process and ensure all the necessary steps are taken for the annulment to be successful. Call (832) 530-4070 to schedule a confidential consultation with the family law department at The Gonzalez Law Group.
The Gonzalez Law Group has over 70 years of collective experience assisting clients with family law issues across Harris County. Some of the areas we serve include Houston, Pearland, Pasadena, Deer Park and Friendswood.