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Can I choose an annulment instead of a divorce?

There are countless reasons why marital relationships do not stand the test of time. Although divorce may be a common way to resolve disputes, it’s not necessarily the only option for couples who choose to go their separate ways.

Those raised within the Catholic Church may be familiar with seeking an annulment, which permits parishioners to remarry. However, an annulment can be a legal course of action as well.

The end of a marriage depends on whether there was a legal union

Regardless of religious affiliation, an annulment brings closure to an invalid partnership. From a legal standpoint, this might involve someone under age 18 entering into a union without parental consent.

Other cases involving two legal adults might take incapacitation, incest, fraud, impotence or intoxication into account. Similar consideration may apply in situations including a divorce granted within the previous 30 days or marriages lasting less than 72 hours.

A divorce, meanwhile, represents the dissolution of a legally recognized marriage. Although Texas courts do not require fault to grant a divorce, petitions commonly cite claims which include:

  • Abandonment
  • Infidelity
  • Maltreatment
  • Committal to a mental hospital
  • Felony conviction (and court-ordered incarceration)

Depending on your circumstances, you may have options for ending your marriage. As divorce and annulment stem from completely different factors, you might anticipate completely different results.

Terms for the future depend on the form of dissolution

Before you end your marriage, you should be aware of the potential corresponding obligations. Considerations may include:

  • The unlawful union recognized in an annulment makes alimony obsolete, whereas financial support may be part of a divorce settlement.
  • Apart from certain cases involving active members of the armed forces, a six-month state residency is necessary to file for divorce. An annulment, on the other hand, merely requires a Texas marriage or one party residing within the state.
  • Property division is not an annulment matter. While you and your divorcing spouse would decide who gets what as part of your settlement, your single life would continue as it was after an annulment.

Multiple complexities factor into legal options, no matter how you end your marriage. Since circumstances typically dictate how to proceed, it may be wise to place more emphasis on protecting your interests than the documentation surrounding your marital status.