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How can I file for an annulment on my own and what office or court do I do it in?

Laredo, TX |

My husband and I have separated because I realized that he was never divorced from his first wife. I know our marriage is considered void, but he also stated that he intends to get a divorce from the first wife. I'd rather get a clean cut annulment now than deal with a divorce. I live in Laredo and I sent him packing back to Lubbock, TX. Will my annulment be faster than his divorce (from the 1st wife)? I just want him out of my life as quickly as possible.

We've been 'married' for 3 yrs now and have son....that still makes my marriage void correct?

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Attorney answers 3

Posted

You need to file an Original Petition to Declare Marriage Void in the county in which you reside as soon as possible. Contact an attorney to help you with the paperwork or a reference librarian at your local law library.

This is general legal advice. An attorney-client relationship has not been formed. Please contact an attorney for specific advice on your case.

Posted

I'm sorry you're in this situation--that's got to be a shock. I know this seems like a nitpicky little thing, but actually you're not going to qualify for either an annulment or a divorce. Both of those would presume that you currently are married to him, and legally, you're just not. If you're concerned about him trying to come back later and claim you're married, first, know that that won't fly legally as long as you leave him before his divorce becomes final. If you're still concerned, you can file with the family court for a declaratory judgment (where the court will hear evidence about the existence of his prior marriage and say, "No, your marriage is not valid"). I'd have to look it up to be sure, but I think it would be called something pretty close to a "Declaration of Void Marriage". Good luck getting this straightened out.

Asker

Posted

Everything that I have read and researched says that if he becomes divorced, then Texas will still acknowledge our marriage (the second marriage) by default. Will it cost me anything to file with the family court to declare my marriage void? And at that time will I be able to revert to my maiden name?

M Elizabeth Gunn

M Elizabeth Gunn

Posted

No, that's not right. If you leave him before the other marriage is dissolved, you and he are not now and never will be married. If you're still living together and telling people youre married, you basically become common-law married at that point. If you're not then living together, you don't. Here's the law: TEXAS FAMILY CODE Section 6.202 MARRIAGE DURING EXISTENCE OF PRIOR MARRIAGE (a) A marriage is void if entered into when either party has an existing marriage to another person that has not been dissolved by legal action or terminated by the death of the other spouse. (b) The later marriage that is void under this section becomes valid when the prior marriage is dissolved if, after the date of the dissolution, the parties have lived together as husband and wife and represented themselves to others as being married. You'd need to pay whatever the court's filing fee is for a declaratory judgment, and I really don't know about the maiden name issue. You'd have to ask the court for it and see what happens. At worst, you'd have to file a separate suit for a name change in district court.

Asker

Posted

Thank you very much. You've been a great help and have eased my mind.

M Elizabeth Gunn

M Elizabeth Gunn

Posted

You're welcome--good luck.

Posted

I agree with the earlier posting to file an Original Petition to Declare Marriage Void. You do need to either serve your "husband" with a citation and copy of the petition or get him to sign a waiver of service AFTER the petition is filed. If he signs the waiver, you may go to court to get the order/judgment signed. If he is personally served with citation, then you have to wait unitl the "Monday next after the expiration of 21 days from service" to get the order/judgment signe.

I am not intending this to be legal advice, because I don't know the particulars of your situation. Call me if you would like to discuss this or other isues.

Asker

Posted

I told him I was proceeding with the annulment and I asked for his cooperation in signing any documents. He told me that he would NOT cooperate and that he's filed for divorce from his first wife. He still considers himself my husband and will not let this go. If he's the one that lied to me (and the first wife too) and he's the one that entered me into a void marriage, why do I need his signature or assistance?

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