A divorce seeks to terminate a valid or legal marriage. Annulment, on the other hand, seeks to invalidate a marriage. An annulment granted by the court or judge means the marriage never legally existed.
There are several ways or grounds for a person to seek and obtain an annulment in Texas:
- An annulment may be granted if a person was under the age of 18 when they got married without consent from parents or an order from the court
- An annulment could be granted if a person was under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of marriage and, therefore, is not capable to giving consent to the marriage
- If either party is permanently impotent at the time of marriage without the other party’s knowledge of it at the time
- If a party used force, duress, or fraud to induce the other party to marry, an annulment may be granted
- A person lacking mental capacity to marry and give consent during the time of the marriage can be granted an annulment
- Any reasonable person having no knowledge of the fact that the other party was divorced from another person within thirty (30) days prior to the date of marriage could also be granted an annulment
A marriage that is void differs from an annulment in that the marriage is rendered invalid automatically regardless of whether or not the court orders a determination of the issues claimed. For instance, a marriage is void if a spouse was in an ongoing previous marriage or certain relatives were married.
Knowing about Inventory and Appraisement
Regarding the process of marriage annulment, the parties involved may have to file for an “Inventory and Appraisement”, which is basically a list consisting of all real and personal property, debts, and liabilities by each spouse. The I&A is filed in court and helps with fair distribution or division of the marital estate. However, it also depends on a county’s local rules if the I&A is simply exchanged between the parties or if divorce lawyers are involved. In this case, the I&A still supports a just and right division of the marital estate because it is used by parties and lawyers to come up with a proposal that is mutually satisfying to everyone involved.
A separate I&A is prepared by both parties, including all property, debts, and liabilities. Each spouse must identify their respective properties in their individual I&A. All real property, checking and savings accounts, retirement accounts, stock, and vehicles consist of marital property. All property and debts should be categorized as personal or community-owned. The I&A should also include the valuation of each property. Bank statements, contracts, deeds, and any supporting document of the I&A will be shared between the parties. Property valuation should be specifically indicated in the I&A, otherwise, the court will not be able to determine a just division of the marital estate. Uncertainty about a property’s value can be solved by a valuation expert. For assistance in the valuation process, schedule a consultation with one of our Texas family attorneys today.