Welcome to our blog on the legal process of declaring a marriage void in Texas. If you’re wondering what it means for a marriage to be void, or how it differs from an annulment or divorce, you’ve come to the right place. In this post, we’ll explore the various grounds for a suit to declare a marriage void, as well as the differences between void marriages and other types of marital dissolution. We’ll also delve into the concept of a “putative spouse” and how a court decides if someone qualifies for that status. So sit back, grab a cup of coffee, and let’s dive into the world!
What is a Suit to Declare a Marriage Void?
A suit to declare a marriage void is basically a legal way of saying “this marriage never happened.” Texas law doesn’t allow certain types of marriages, such as those between close relatives or where one spouse is already married. When a marriage falls into one of these categories, it’s considered “void” and can’t be made valid, even if both parties want it to be. A court order is needed to officially end a void marriage, which makes it as if the marriage never existed.
How are Annulments and Suits to Declare a Marriage Void Different?
Both annulments and suits to declare a marriage void are ways of ending marriages that were never legally valid in the first place. However, there’s a key difference between the two. An annulment can only be granted if the couple agrees that the marriage was never valid. A suit to declare a marriage void, on the other hand, can be initiated by either spouse, regardless of whether the other one agrees.
How are Divorces and Suits to Declare a Marriage Void Different?
A divorce is the legal end of a valid marriage, while a suit to declare a marriage void is the legal end of a marriage that was never valid in the first place. In a divorce, both parties have to agree that the marriage is over and come to a settlement on issues like property and children. In a suit to declare a marriage void, these issues don’t necessarily need to be resolved, since the marriage is considered to have never existed.
What are the Grounds for a Suit to Declare a Marriage Void?
Texas law recognizes several grounds for a suit to declare a marriage void, including incest, bigamy, and a minor spouse. In addition, if the spouses are currently stepparent and stepchild, or they formerly had that relationship, the marriage is considered void.
What if my Marriage is Void Due to Bigamy but I still want to be Married to my Spouse?
If your marriage is void due to bigamy, it doesn’t mean you can’t be married to your spouse again. The previous marriage must end in a divorce or annulment, after that both of you should live together and hold yourselves out as married. This will create a common-law marriage, and it becomes official on the date the previous marriage ends.
What is a Putative Spouse?
A putative spouse is someone who believed they were legally married, despite the marriage being void. Texas law offers protection to putative spouses, who may be entitled to an equitable division of property and inheritance rights, if they can prove that they had a good faith belief that the marriage was valid.
How Does a Court Decide if a Spouse is a Putative Spouse?
To prove that you’re a putative spouse, you have to convince a court that youhad a good faith belief that the marriage was valid and that you didn’t know about the facts that made the marriage void. The court will look at various factors, such as whether you were aware of the other marriage or if you were misled by your spouse, to determine if you qualify as a putative spouse. It’s important to note that being a putative spouse doesn’t necessarily mean that the marriage is considered valid, but it does provide certain legal rights and protections.
In conclusion, a suit to declare a marriage void is a legal process that ends a marriage that is not valid under Texas law. It’s different from an annulment, which can only be granted if both parties agree that the marriage was never valid, and a divorce, which ends a valid marriage. Understanding the grounds for a suit to declare a marriage void, as well as the concept of a putative spouse, can help you navigate the legal system if you find yourself in the unfortunate situation of having to end a void marriage. Remember to always consult with a lawyer before making any major legal decisions. Thanks for reading!