While couples who divorce in San Antonio may want to convince themselves that their marriages never happened, their unions are recorded as a matter of public record. That is, if they do not choose to pursue an annulment. While many use the terms “divorce” and “annulment” interchangeably, the truth is that they are different. Divorce describes the legal dissolution of a valid marriage, while an annulment declares that a marriage was never valid to begin with. Annulments tend to be less common than divorces, with CNN reporting that on 50,000 were granted in 2012. However, some may prefer this method of ending their marriages due to social or religious circumstances.
It is important to understand, however, that there is a difference between annulling a marriage and having it declared void. A voided marriage is viewed as unlawful, and thus requires no legal formality to terminate. The Texas Family Code lists any marriages between people related by whole of half-blood or adoption, or between couples in which one is still legally married to another as being void.
The same statute goes on to state that an annulment may be granted if any one of the parties to a marriage:
- Was under the age of 18 and did not have parental consent to marry
- Was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time the marriage occurred
- Was determined to not have the mental capacity to consent marriage
- Is found to be permanently impotent
- Forced the other to marry through the use of fraud, duress or force
- Obtained a divorce within 30 days of the marriage and concealed that fact from the other.
A marriage that occurs within 72 hours of a license being issued is in violation of state law and also determined to meet the grounds for annulment.