The Houston Family Law Blog

Annulment in Houston

If you got married to someone in a hurry and they did not tell you quite everything you might need to know about them, would you want to remain married? In some types of situations, the law provides the opportunity to “annul” a marriage.

In an annulment, it is as if the marriage was never valid to begin with. This way you are not liable for alimony, for example, and once the marriage is voided, you would not be considered “divorced.”

Some examples of marriages that can be annulled are mock marriages, such as various “green card” marriages. Other marriages that might be annulled would include those where the other person is already married (bigamy). For a full list of marriages that might be annulled -- it is best to check with a Houston family law attorney.

Recently in Annulment Category

Is Gay Divorce Legal in Texas?

Is gay divorce legal in Texas? The Texas Supreme Court is currently deciding this question, the Associated Press reports.

On Tuesday, the state's High Court heard arguments regarding the issue of gay divorce and whether or not the state could grant divorces to gay couples who were legally married in other states. The plaintiffs, a gay couple from Austin and Dallas, married in Massachusetts a few years ago and later attempted to file for divorce in Texas, but Attorney General Greg Abbott won on appeal blocking a divorce ruling.

What were some issues regarding marriage and divorce raised in this case?

89-Year-Old Vet's Guardian Seeks To Have His Marriage Annulled

Jewell Hall, an 89-year-old WWII veteran with dementia, may have his marriage to his former caretaker Marjorie Messer annulled, reports the Houston Chronicle.

Jewell Hall’s marriage to 58-year-old Marjorie Messer came about when he was looking for a caretaker after the death of his wife of six decades. A waitress named Patty recommended her cousin Marjorie. Shortly thereafter, Hall and Messer tied the knot.

A few days after the ceremony, Messer withdrew nearly $17,000 from Hall’s bank account and placed the money into a new joint bank account at her bank. Hall later disinherited his three children in his will and named his new wife as the recipient of everything, including medical and financial powers of attorney.

Polygamist FLDS Leader Warren Jeffs Gets Sex Abuse Conviction

By all accounts, Warren Jeffs considered himself a Prophet and the voice of God. But a jury of his peers convicted him of child sexual assault charges stemming from two child brides he had taken during his time as head of the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints (FLDS) community in West Texas, reports the Associated Press.

Jeffs, who acted as his own attorney, because he had fired his seven previous attorneys, did not perform too well during the trial, the Associated Press reported earlier. And threatening the judge and jury with divine punishment did not prevent the prosecutor from introducing evidence that he had fathered a child with a 15-year-old girl.

Texas Polygamist Sect Leader Warren Jeffs Fires Another Attorney

Texas polygamist sect leader Warren Jeffs goes through lawyers like he did wives. Jeffs recently fired his seventh attorney, reports KTRK Houston, and now has decided to go it alone -- something he presumably didn't try with marriage.

Jeffs was arrested in 2008, during a raid at Yearning for Zion, located about 45 miles south of San Angelo. More than 400 children were taken away from the compound, as well as women who looked like they were from the 19th century.

The investigation had been triggered by an anonymous call to an abuse shelter, which is what allowed the authorities to get a search warrant. While on the compound the authorities discovered that there were girls as young as eleven who were pregnant.

Nikki Araguz's Marriage to Thomas Araguz to Be Declared Void

It looks like Nikki Araguz probably won’t be entitled to any money of her deceased husband’s estate, as a Texas judge is expected to declare her marriage to Thomas Araguz void. This can be seen as sad news for the transgender community in Texas, but Araguz isn’t walking away from court without a fight. She has stated that she will take this case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court if she has to.

Thomas Araguz died last year while battling a blaze as a firefighter, reports Associated Press. Since the firefighter’s death, the mother of the victim has filed a lawsuit, arguing that Nikki Araguz shouldn’t receive any death benefits because Nikki Araguz is a transgender woman, who was born a male. Because same-sex marriage is illegal in the state of Texas, attorneys representing the mother have argued that the marriage between Nikki and Thomas Araguz is invalid and that the entire $600,000 should go to Thomas Araguz’s two young sons, who he had from a previous marriage.

Skype Marriage In Texas Annulled

A same-sex couple in Texas thought that they found a loophole to the state's ban on gay marriage by having a Washington D.C. based officiant perform their marriage via Skype. reports that the couple Mark Reed and Dante Walkup walked down the aisle earlier this year in a Dallas hotel while on a teleconference call  with Sheila Alexander-Reid, who officiated their wedding from the nation's capital. Prior to the wedding ceremony in Dallas, the couple had traveled to Washington D.C. to pick up a marriage license.

Marriage To Stepchild Or Stepparent In Texas

While there's not usually a blood relationship between a stepchild and stepparent, it's still not legal for a stepparent to marry their current or former stepchild in the state of Texas. Section 6.206 of the Texas Family Code states that a marriage is void if a party is a current or former stepchild or stepparent of the other party.

Hence, a marriage between a former stepchild and stepparent pair can be grounds for annulment in Texas. Furthermore, a marriage between parents and children or a marriage between grandparents and grandchildren is illegal in every U.S. state. These types of incestuous marriages can be void by the family courts through an annulment. A marriage is also subject to annulment when one party is already married at the time of another marriage (bigamy).

Nikki Araguz Provides Proof of Husband Knowing of Gender Surgery

The story of transgender Nikki Araguz, the widow of a Wharton firefighter killed in the line of duty, has drawn attention to people all over Harris County and family law attorneys across the country. The parents of the deceased firefighter are trying to annul his marriage with Nikki Araguz even after his death so that the widow won't get his $500,000 in death benefits.

The Houston Chronicle reports that Nikki Araguz was born a male, but had a court order to undergo gender surgery after being diagnosed with a genetic disorder that kept her from growing into a fully developed man. The family of Wharton firefighter Thomas Araguz III claims that their son never knew of his wife's sex change, which are grounds for an annulment.

Family Tries to Annul Nikki Araguz's Marriage

The widow of a firefighter that was killed in a large blaze might have trouble holding on to her husband's money, since the firefighter's parents are trying to annul their marriage even after his death.

The Houston Chronicle reports that the widow Nikki Araguz, from Wharton, is a transgender that born a man but got a sex change operation so that she is now a woman. Since same-sex marriage is illegal in the state of Texas, the parents of the fire victim are arguing that the marriage between Thomas and Nikki Araguz should be annulled. This is because Nikki was not born a woman.

Why Get an Annulment Instead of Divorce?

In the state of Texas, it can be very difficult to get an annulment. Texas family law attorneys say that family courts rarely grant annulments because of the specific criteria that must be met for such a procedure.

In an earlier blog post, we discussed the grounds for an annulment in the Lone Star state. Such grounds include marriage is to someone under the age of 18, if the marriage took place under the influence of alcohol or drugs, if a spouse is unable to consummate the marriage, if an individual was threatened to get married, or if a spouse had a pre-marriage mental illness that was concealed from the other spouse. These are the only circumstances that are typically grounds for annulment.