Marianne Haste and William Arryme developed a close relationship through a popular online dating service. After dating for several months, Marianne and William recognized that they were meant for each other and scheduled a Valentine’s Day wedding. After a beautiful, fairytale wedding, the newlyweds were whisked away in a limousine to live happily every after. Or so they thought. That night, Marianne discovers that her new husband has certain “performance issues” that cannot be cured with a little blue pill. During their brief courtship, William had somehow failed to mention his medical condition. William seeks forgiveness. Marianne seeks an annulment. Can she get it?
Yes. The facts satisfy the limited conditions for an annulment, so a divorce is not necessary. An annulment is the legal nullification of a marriage and reverts the spouses back to their status before the marriage. In other words, the marriage is treated as though it never happened. Divorce, on the other hand, treats marriage as having been terminated or ended. Annulment can be granted immediately. Divorce has a 60 day waiting period.
Now, back to our frustrated bride. Under Texas law, a person may obtain an annulment if either party was permanently impotent at the time of the marriage. So, if Marianne got married with the full expectation of being able to have normal sexual relations with William (and she didn’t know of his condition at the time of the marriage and didn’t voluntarily live with William once she found out), she can get an annulment.
Marianne or William may also seek annulment on the grounds that she/he was under 18 (and didn’t have parental consent to marry), that she/he was drunk at the time of the marriage, that she/he used fraud to obtain the marriage, that she/he was mentally incompetent at the time of the marriage, that she/he had concealed a divorce that was granted within 30 days of the marriage, that she/he are related by blood or that she/he had previously been married and never obtained a divorce. The last two categories listed above are considered “void” marriages or marriages that never could have been, while the rest of the list are voidable marriages or marriages that never should have been.
See Texas Family Code Section 6.106.