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How to Get an Annulment in Texas

Sophia Merton
June 7, 2024

Annulling a marriage isn’t the same thing as getting a divorce, and there are much stricter requirements for annulment than for divorce. In this article, we’re going to take a look at how to get an annulment in Texas.

To summarize, an annulment is a legal process that ends up, essentially, declaring that a marriage wasn’t ever actually valid in the first place.

In order to get an annulment, your marriage needs to have occurred under one of only a handful of circumstances. The process of annulment involves filing an annulment petition with the county clerk.

Let’s take a closer look at what you need to know about getting an annulment in the Lone Star State.

What Is an Annulment?

An annulment is a legal procedure that nullifies a marriage, effectively declaring that the marriage was never valid from the beginning. Unlike a divorce, which ends a legally valid marriage, an annulment treats the marriage as if it never existed.

handing annulment documents How to Get an Annulment in Texas

Divorce is, by far, the most common way to end a marriage in Texas and in any other U.S. state, for that matter. Annulments are really only allowed in specific circumstances.

There are seven grounds for annulment in Texas, and each of them has requirements that must be fulfilled in order to be eligible. Furthermore, a number of these grounds have time limits that you should be aware of.

You can learn more about specific aspects of family law in Texas in our guides:

Annulment Under Texas Law

Texas law permits annulments under these circumstances:

  • One spouse is younger than 18 years old
  • A spouse was intoxicated by alcohol or drugs at the time of marriage
  • One spouse is impotent
  • The marriage was entered into due to fraud, coercion, or force
  • A spouse lacks the mental capacity to consent to the marriage
  • A spouse hid the fact that they were recently divorced
  • The marriage occurred within 72 hours of obtaining the marriage license

Requirements to Get an Annulment in Texas

To obtain an annulment in a Texas court, you or your spouse must meet one of the following conditions:

  • The marriage occurred in Texas
  • Texas is the permanent residence for one or both spouses

The spouse who initiates the annulment by filing the petition is called the “petitioner,” while the other spouse is referred to as the “respondent.”

  • You can file a petition for annulment in the county where you were married or where either spouse resides.
    • Filing fees vary by county, but if you qualify for a fee waiver, you won’t have to pay.

The same courts that handle divorce cases also manage annulments. In most Texas counties, family law cases are handled by district courts. Your local district clerk’s office can provide details on specific filing requirements.

After filing the petition, you must serve the papers to your spouse. This can be done by a constable, sheriff, or private process server. Alternatively, your spouse may sign a waiver of service.

Underage Marriage

A court may annul a marriage if all the following conditions are met:

  • A spouse was between 16 and 18 years old at the time of the marriage
  • The spouse’s parents did not consent to the marriage, nor was there a court order allowing the marriage without parental consent.
  • A parent, guardian, or authorized person files the annulment petition
  • The annulment petition is filed within 90 days of the marriage

An underage spouse may file for annulment if they turn 18 within the 90-day period but cannot seek annulment after this period. Such marriages are not automatically invalid under Texas law; a judge will decide based on “pertinent facts,” including whether the female spouse is pregnant.

Influence of Alcohol or Narcotics

An annulment can be granted if one spouse was under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of marriage, provided the following conditions are met:

  • The spouse was too impaired to consent to the marriage
  • The spouse has not acted as though they were married since the effects of the alcohol or drugs wore off

alcohol as one reason for annulment How to Get an Annulment in Texas

It is crucial to prove that the marriage would not have occurred without the influence of alcohol or drugs and that the petitioner did not voluntarily live with their spouse after becoming sober.


Impotence, defined as the inability to have sexual intercourse, can be grounds for annulment if:

  • A spouse was impotent at the time of marriage.
  • The impotence is permanent, and the marriage has not been consummated.
  • The petitioner was unaware of the impotence at the time of marriage.
  • The petitioner has not voluntarily lived with their spouse after learning of the impotence.

impotence as one way How to Get an Annulment in Texas

Either spouse can file for annulment due to impotence, whether it is their own or their spouse’s condition.

Fraud, Duress, or Force

A marriage can be annulled if it was entered into due to fraud, duress, or force. Let’s break down the meaning of each of these concepts under Texas law:

  • Fraud: Misrepresentation or withholding of important information that would have changed the petitioner’s decision to marry
  • Duress: Coercion or threats that made the petitioner feel they had no choice but to marry
  • Force: Physical force or threat of immediate injury

The petitioner must prove that the marriage occurred solely because of fraud, duress, or force and that they did not voluntarily live with their spouse afterward.

Mental Incapacity

A marriage can be annulled if one spouse is not mentally capable of consenting to the marriage due to conditions such as:

If the spouse recovers mental capacity, they may file for annulment themselves. Typically, a guardian must file on behalf of someone lacking mental capacity. The other spouse can also file for annulment if they were unaware of the lack of capacity at the time of marriage and have not lived with the spouse since learning of it.

Concealed Divorce

In terms of declaring a marriage null and void in response to a hidden divorce, an annulment can be granted if:

  • The respondent divorced another person less than 30 days before marrying the petitioner
  • The petitioner was unaware of the previous divorce at the time of the marriage
  • The respondent made efforts to conceal the earlier divorce.
  • The petitioner has not lived with the respondent since learning of the divorce
  • The petition is filed within one year of the marriage

This type of annulment is specific to concealed divorces shortly before marriage and is not available after one year.

Marriage within 72 Hours of License

Texas law requires a 72-hour waiting period after obtaining a marriage license. Exceptions include:

  • Active-duty U.S. Armed Forces members
  • Employees and contractors of the U.S. Department of Defense
  • Individuals with a court order waiving the waiting period
  • Individuals who completed a state-approved premarital education course

If the marriage occurred within the 72-hour period without meeting these exceptions, either spouse can file for annulment within 30 days of the marriage.

How to Get an Annulment in Texas

You can file a petition for annulment in the county where:

  • You got married;
  • Most of the events leading up to your marriage occurred; or
  • Your spouse resided at the time of the marriage.

For instance, if you were married in Houston, you could file a petition in Harris County.

court where person can get annulment in texas

The local district clerk can inform you which courts handle annulment cases. Typically, the same courts that handle divorce cases also manage annulments in most counties.

Unlike divorce, Texas law does not mandate a waiting period after you file an annulment petition. However, due to the high volume of cases, it might take some time to schedule a hearing. You can expect the process to take at least a few weeks.

A family law attorney can spot potential issues in your case early on, saving you time and helping you avoid frustration. In the long run, this can also save you money. Annulments can be more complex than they seem, especially if children or valuable assets like a house or retirement plan are involved.

You will likely qualify for a divorce if you do not meet the qualifications for an annulment in Texas. Alternatively, you might be eligible to file a suit to declare the marriage void.

Navigating Divorce and Annulment Law in Texas

After learning how to get an annulment in Texas, you likely have a better idea of whether or not you would qualify for this legal process. If not, your other options include getting a divorce or filing a suit to declare a marriage void.

For many people, an event like a divorce or an annulment is the first interaction they have with the legal system. While it can feel overwhelming, one of the best things you can do is learn as much as possible about the process. This can help alleviate stress and allow you to make the best possible decisions.

Are you searching for more resources to help you navigate family law in the Lone Star State? Make sure you check out our Texas Divorce Laws blog!

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Written By:
Sophia Merton
Sophia received her BA from Vassar College. She is a researcher and writer that aims to help make the complexities of the legal system understandable to the layperson. Believing that people can be empowered by understanding their rights and responsibilities under the law, Sophia aims to offer accurate and well-researched information in straightforward and easy-to-digest legal articles.

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