The Houston Family Law Blog

Recently in Annulment Category

Skype Marriage In Texas Annulled

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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

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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).

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

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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?

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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.

Texas Grounds For Annulment

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Annulments of marriage can be considered rare in today's society, but FindLaw states that there could be some advantages to getting an annulment rather than a divorce.

An annulment essentialy voids a marriage, meaning that the marriage was never seen as valid in the eyes in the law. This is different from divorce in that a divorce terminates a marriage that had once been legally valid. With an annulment, you are free to marry somebody else without going through the process of filing divorce papers. However, courts cannot award alimony or spousal support with an annulment, and marital property rights are terminated.