Britney Spears’ 55-Hour Marriage Annulled
United States marriages last (some would say endure) an average of 8 years. Pop starlet Britney Spears’ 2004 whirlwind Las Vegas, Nevada marriage to her childhood friend lasted less than 3 days. After an intoxicant-fueled weekend, the singer apparently came to her senses, and sought to void her marriage — known as “annulment.”
Overview of a Texas Annulment
Annulment and divorce are different: a divorce ends a valid marriage, while an annulment ends a marriage that was invalid at the outset. If your marriage was invalid from the beginning, you may be able to annul your marriage.
Grounds for an Annulment
Per Texas Family Code, to qualify for an annulment you must be able to show one or more of the following legal grounds:
- Intoxication (from alcohol or narcotics). Was one spouse too intoxicated during the wedding ceremony to understand he/she was consenting to marriage?
- Bigamy. Was one spouse still married?
- Incest. Are the spouses related more closely than first cousins?
- Impotence. Is one spouse permanently unable to have sexual intercourse?
- Underage. Was one spouse below age 18, without parental consent to the marriage?
- Fraud. Did one spouse lie or hide something fundamental to the marriage?
- Duress or Force. Did one spouse force, threaten or coerce the other into marriage?
Exceptions and Other Requirements
Not surprisingly, there are exceptions and other requirements to annulment. For example:
- Bigamy: if the earlier marriage is dissolved and the spouses of the later marriage continue living together, the later marriage can be valid
- Intoxication: if the spouses live together after sobering up, a Texas court is unlikely to grant an annulment
- Impotency: impotence must be permanent. Also, if the spouse asking for annulment knew about the impotency when getting married, or voluntarily continued living with the other spouse after finding out, a Texas court will not grant an annulment.
Effect of an Annulment
If your marriage is voided, you can legally say you were never married to your former spouse. It’s as if you were never married.
But a court can still determine custody, visitation, child support, alimony, and property division — typical divorce-related issues, as in a lawful marriage.
Children born from void (annulled) marriages are considered legitimate (i.e., they have the same rights as children from valid marriages). Legitimate children have the right to be financially supported by both parents, and to inherit from either parent.
The Law Office of Jaclyn Y. Roberson, PLLC is a family law and estate planning firm based in San Antonio serving the citizens of South and Central Texas.