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Can an annulment happen in Texas if?

Dallas, TX |

If the party was drunk and does not remember getting married can the marriage be annulled? I have a friend that has been separated from they're ex for over 4 years now and was not aware that when they were together they got married when she was completely drunk. My friend does not remember anything about it and has never seen the marriage license or rings till just a day or two ago. He has kept it a secret her for all this time and now she feels trapped. I was wondering if it was to late to get it annulled and she will have to go through a full divorce which she does not want to do. Also they have a kid together and the fact that they were married was never brought up in the custody battle by the lawyers, judge or him.

Attorney Answers 1

Posted

That's an interesting scenario from a legal standpoint. Intoxication can be grounds for an annulment, if the intoxicated person, once she sobered up, stopped living with the other spouse immediately. Under these circumstances, it sounds like she stopped living with him for other reasons, and it's not clear when it why that happened, but I suppose the whole custody suit would be pretty good evidence that she really didn't know they were married until now. I think it's certainly worth your friend consulting a local family law attorney to talk about the possibility of an annulment, or a divorce if it's decided that an annulment wouldn't work for some reason.

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6 comments

Asker

Posted

But wouldn't it be brought up by a judge or someone during the custody settlement that they were married. Wouldn't that show up somewhere the system and the judge or lawyer ask why they are only filing for custody and not a divorce?

M Elizabeth Gunn

M Elizabeth Gunn

Posted

That was pretty much my point, actually--yes, you would expect that that would have come up (it's not actually legally necessary, but 99% of the time, a married couple with kids who are in four over custody are doing that in the context of a pending divorce, and it's all dealt with together, so something definitely sounds off about that). It NOT being mentioned in the court documents would tend to support her claim that she had no idea she ever was married (or why wouldn't she have divorced him back when they dealt with the custody end of things?). Without that element being involved, I think the judge might have a bit of a hard time believing that she somehow really didn't know for all those years that they were married.

M Elizabeth Gunn

M Elizabeth Gunn

Posted

That was pretty much my point, actually--yes, you would expect that that would have come up (it's not actually legally necessary, but 99% of the time, a married couple with kids who are in four over custody are doing that in the context of a pending divorce, and it's all dealt with together, so something definitely sounds off about that). It NOT being mentioned in the court documents would tend to support her claim that she had no idea she ever was married (or why wouldn't she have divorced him back when they dealt with the custody end of things?). Without that element being involved, I think the judge might have a bit of a hard time believing that she somehow really didn't know for all those years that they were married.

Asker

Posted

So it would be possible for the marriage to be a fake on his part and him lying to her even though she did see a piece of paper that she said had a judges signature on it. The really fishy part is that he has proposed to her about four other times over the last 3-4 years trying to get her back and she has said no. I find this odd if he knew they were already married that he would propose again. Is it possible to make a fake marriage license and if so how hard would that be? I have a feeling this is whats happened.

M Elizabeth Gunn

M Elizabeth Gunn

Posted

I don't have a clue whether they're really married or not. But if you want to find out, it's very easy to check, assuming the supposed marriage took place in Texas: http://www.texasmarriagerecords.org/ It also occurred to me that neither you or she might know how marriage licenses work here: you have to apply for one with the county clerk, who issues the license, then you have to wait at least 72 hours (maybe under the presumption you'll probably sober up by then?!). The license "expires" after I think 30 days, but anytime between that 3rd day and 30th day, you can get anyone allowed by the state to perform marriages to actually marry you (judge, priest, minister, rabbi, etc.). Once they do, they have to sign off on the marriage license and they either send it back to the county clerk or maybe the Bureau of Vital Statistics (which is who keeps records of births, marriages, divorces, deaths, and so on). If the BVS doesn't show they're married, and the alleged marriage took place in Texas, it's very unlikely they are actually married, unless there's some potential common-law claim there.

M Elizabeth Gunn

M Elizabeth Gunn

Posted

I don't have a clue whether they're really married or not. But if you want to find out, it's very easy to check, assuming the supposed marriage took place in Texas: http://www.texasmarriagerecords.org/ It also occurred to me that neither you or she might know how marriage licenses work here: you have to apply for one with the county clerk, who issues the license, then you have to wait at least 72 hours (maybe under the presumption you'll probably sober up by then?!). The license "expires" after I think 30 days, but anytime between that 3rd day and 30th day, you can get anyone allowed by the state to perform marriages to actually marry you (judge, priest, minister, rabbi, etc.). Once they do, they have to sign off on the marriage license and they either send it back to the county clerk or maybe the Bureau of Vital Statistics (which is who keeps records of births, marriages, divorces, deaths, and so on). If the BVS doesn't show they're married, and the alleged marriage took place in Texas, it's very unlikely they are actually married, unless there's some potential common-law claim there.

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