Sunday, July 10, 2005
Normally in Texas, marriages are made to stick. If someone has a claims of being married, then the burden is on the other party to prove they weren't. In contrast, void marriages are legally invalid from day one. Do not pass go. Do not collect $500. In void marriages, neither party has a choice in reaffirming such a marriage because there exists a defect so grave, that the State of Texas will not permit the marriage under any circumstances.
There are two ways that a marriage is absolutely void in Texas. One is the Putative Marriage where one party is already married to a different person. (See previous posting). The other is that the parties are too closely related to each other. (TFC 6.201) The fancy word is "Consanquinity". (See also previous posting).
Remember that there are two types of invalid marriages: marriages that are void (discussed here) and those that are voidable (discussed in the next post). The practitioner should not be sloppy and plead the wrong type of case. The term "annulment" is often casually tossed around by the client and the attorney, but that is only for VOIDABLE marriages. A void marriage never was. It does not get annulled. It gets a declaration that it is void. Such void marriages are properly filed as "A Suit to Declae Void the Marriage of ___ and ___". Also remember that unlike a divorce, there is no 60 day waiting period after filing suit. It is a small favor from the legislature that you can get these muddled messes over quick.
Remember that any type of marriage dissolution case has the same considerations if there are children involved; i.e. kids from these relationships are not "bastardized" by these proceedings. You have to do a full Suit Affecting the Parent Child Relationship and assign all rights, duties, access, visitation, etc. (See future post).