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Annulling the Marriage of a Minor

Posted on in Complex Divorce

Texas divorce lawyer, Texas family attorneyMany couples who wish to end their marriage do not have to obtain a divorce, but can instead file for an annulment. However, there are only a few specific justifications for annulling a marriage, one of which is that one of the parties was underage at the time of the marriage. Filing for an annulment is complicated, so if you have questions about annulling your marriage or the marriage of your underage child, it is important to contact an experienced divorce attorney who can explain your legal options.

Underage Marriage

Until recently, Texas law allowed parents to consent to the marriage of their child as long as the minor was at least 16 years old. This was true even if one of the child’s parents did not consent to the marriage. Furthermore, a parent could consent to the marriage of a child of any age as long as a judge approved. Governor Abbott recently signed a new bill into law which prohibits people who are under the age of 18 years old from getting married unless they are emancipated minors. In Texas, minors are only permitted to file for emancipation if they are 16 years old, so now the youngest age that a person can get married in Texas is 16 years old.

Legal Justification for an Annulment

While divorces legally terminate valid marriages, annulments end marriages that were never valid. Unfortunately, annulments can be difficult to obtain, as the parties must demonstrate that one of the following legal grounds exists:

  • The parties are first cousins or are even more closely related;
  • One of the parties was already married at the time of the marriage;
  • One of the parties was too intoxicated at the time of the wedding to consent to the marriage;
  • One spouse committed fraud;
  • One of the parties is impotent;
  • One spouse was coerced or forced into the marriage; and
  • At least one of the spouses was under the age of 16 years old.

Generally, an annulment must be filed by one of the parties to a marriage. However, when a spouse is underage, his or her parent or guardian can file on the minor’s behalf. For annulments where one of the spouses is under the age of 18 years old, Texas courts can grant annulments if the marriage took place without the consent of the parents or without a court order. Once the underage party turns 18 years old, he or she will no longer be eligible for an annulment.

Call Today to Speak with an Experienced Complex Divorce Attorney

If your child is underage and married without your consent, he or she may be eligible for an annulment. Please contact Powers and Kerr, PLLC to schedule a one-on-one meeting with a skilled Cedar Park divorce attorney who can evaluate your case.



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