There is a distinction between a Petition to Declare a Marriage Void and a Petition for Annulment of a Marriage. Clients usually have to be informed that they do not have an absolute option to choose.
How do I know if I have the option to have a marriage declared “Void”?
One of the grounds is “consanguinity”. A marriage is void if one party to the marriage is related to the other as an ancestor or descendant, by blood or adoption; a brother or sister, of the whole or half blood or by adoption; a parent’s brother or sister, of the whole or half blood or by adoption; or a son or daughter of a brother or sister, of the whole or half blood or by adoption.
What if my spouse never divorced their previous spouse?
A marriage occurring during the existence of a prior marriage can be voided. A marriage is void if entered into when either party has an existing marriage to another person that has not been dissolved by legal action or terminated by the death of the other spouse. The later marriage that is void under this section becomes valid when the prior marriage is dissolved if, after the date of the dissolution, the parties have lived together as husband and wife and represented themselves to others as being married.
The burden is on the party seeking annulment to establish: (1) a prior marriage by the other spouse; and (2) the continued validity of that marriage at the time of the subsequent marriage.
Can certain void marriages be validated?
Except for a marriage that would have been void under marriage by consanguinity, a marriage that was entered into before January 1, 1970, in violation of the prohibitions of Article 496, Penal Code of Texas, 1925, is validated from the date the marriage commenced if the parties continued until January 1, 1970, to live together as husband and wife and to represent themselves to others as being married.
What about same sex marriages?
A “civil union” means any relationship status other than marriage that is intended as an alternative to marriage or applies primarily to cohabitating persons; and grants to the parties of the relationship legal protections, benefits, or responsibilities granted to the spouses of a marriage.
A marriage between persons of the same sex or a civil union used to be contrary to the public policy of this state and was void in this state.
Until the Supreme Court case in Obergefell v. Hodges, 135 S. Ct. 2584 (2015) which made same-sex couples able to exercise the fundamental right to marry in all states. No lawful basis presently exists for a state to refuse to recognize a lawful same-sex marriage performed in another state on the basis that is a same-sex marriage.
What about a marriage to a minor?
A marriage is void if either party to the marriage is younger than 18 years of age, unless a court order removing the disabilities of minority of the party for general purposes has been obtained in this state or in another state.
What about a marriage to a stepchild or a stepparent?
A marriage is void if a party is a current or former stepchild or stepparent of the other party.