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Instructions & Forms for an Agreed Annulment of Marriage without Children

These instructions explain the basic steps to ask a court to annul your marriage. Each step includes a link to the form or forms needed for that step.  Click on each step to expand it with more information.

Use these instructions if:

  • you and your spouse do not have any children together and no child is expected, and
  • you and your spouse agree about all the issues and will both sign the necessary court forms.

Do NOT use these instructions if:

  • your spouse does not agree to the annulment, or
  • your case involves a lot of property to be divided.

Have you read the Answers to Common Questions? These instructions are part of this TexasLawHelp.org toolkit: I want to annul or void my marriage. Before getting started, read the Answers to Common Questions included in the Toolkit. 

WARNING! These basic instructions provide general information, not legal advice. It’s a good idea to talk with a lawyer about your particular situation.

A lawyer is trained to protect your legal rights. Even if you decide to represent yourself, try to talk to a lawyer about your case before filing anything. You can hire a lawyer just to review your forms. This is called limited scope representation. You may also be able to talk with a lawyer for free at a legal clinic. If you need help finding a lawyer, you can:

You can print these instructions to use as a checklist.

To print out both the instructions and forms, click here.

For instructions and forms in Spanish, click here.

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Step 1: Meet the legal requirements.

You can ask the Court to annul your marriage if:

  • A spouse of the marriage was under age 18, or
    • Note: If a person is between 16 and 18 years of age and married without parental consent or a court order, the marriage may be annulled. (The case is filed by a next friend on the minor’s behalf, a parent, a court-ordered managing conservator, or the minor’s guardian of the person.) Talk with a lawyer if this is the reason you are asking the court for an annulment.
  • A spouse was under the influence of alcohol or narcotics, or 
    • Note: The spouse asking for the annulment (the petitioner) was under the influence of alcohol or narcotics to the point that they lacked the capacity to consent to the marriage. In addition, the petitioner must not have voluntarily lived with the other spouse once the alcohol or drugs had worn off.
  • Either spouse is permanently impotent, or
    • Note: If either party is permanently impotent (unable to have sexual intercourse) at the time of the marriage and the petitioner was unaware of the impotency at the time of the marriage, a judge may grant an annulment. In addition, the petitioner must not have voluntarily lived with the other spouse since becoming aware of the impotency.
  • A spouse was convinced to marry the other spouse by fraud, duress, or force, or
    • Note: A marriage may be annulled if a spouse made an important misrepresentation intending to persuade or influence the other spouse into marrying them. In addition, the petitioner must not have voluntarily lived with the other spouse since becoming aware of the fraud or being released from the duress or force.
  • A spouse lacked the mental capacity to enter into the marriage, or
    • Note: A court may order the marriage annulled if either spouse did not have the mental capacity to consent to the marriage or the marriage ceremony. In addition, the petitioner must not have voluntarily lived with the other spouse during a period of time when the petitioner had the mental capacity to realize he/she is married or after the petitioner discovered the other spouse lacked mental capacity to consent to the marriage.  If the petitioner is asking for annulment because the other spouse lacked mental capacity, the petitioner must also show that he or she did not know or could not reasonably have known that the other spouse lacked capacity.
  • A spouse concealed (hid) a prior divorce, or
    • Note: The petitioner must show that the other spouse was divorced from a third-party within the 30 day window before the marriage and that the petitioner did not know (or a reasonably prudent person could not have known) of the divorce. In addition, the petitioner did not voluntarily live with the other spouse after discovering (or should have discovered) the divorce. The annulment case must be filed within 1 year of the marriage.
  • The spouses were married within 72 hours of the marriage license being issued.
    • Note: To qualify under these facts, the petitioner must file the annulment case within 30 days of the date of the marriage.

If you meet the legal requirements, use these instructions to ask for an annulment by filing a Petition for Annulment of Marriage (called an annulment for short). 

Step 2: Determine where to file for annulment.
It’s important to file for annulment in the correct county. If you file in the wrong county, your case will be dismissed and you will lose your filing fee.
Generally, you can file for annulment in the county:
  • where all or a large part of the relevant facts or acts leading to the annulment happened, or 
  • where you or the respondent lived when the facts, acts, and marriage took place. 
In addition, you or your spouse must meet these requirements: You or your spouse must live in Texas, or you must have been married in Texas. If neither you nor your spouse meet the requirements, talk with a lawyer. 
 
Annulments can generally be filed in the same courts that hear divorce cases (district courts), and can also be filed in county courts, depending on the county. After you determine the county where you should file your annulment case, call your local district clerk and ask the clerk which court in your county handles annulment cases.
 
Read the Common Questions, Annulment: Answers to Common Questions, for more information. 
Step 3: Fill out the starting forms.
 
The Petition asks the judge to annul your marriage. The Petition also tells your spouse what orders you want the judge to make. 
When you fill out the Petition:
  • Print your answers using blue or black ink. Do not leave blanks. 
  • Talk with a lawyer if you have questions or need help. 
Who is the petitioner? You are the petitioner—the person asking the court for an annulment. You must fill out and sign the Petition. No one else needs to sign the Petition.
 
Who is the respondent?  Your spouse is the respondent.
 
Note: The Petition asks for your address. Your spouse will get a copy of the Petition. If you are concerned about your spouse knowing your address, call the Family Violence Legal Line at (800) 374-4673 for free advice.

 

Fill out these additional starting forms:

Fill out this additional starting form if you cannot afford to pay the filing fee for your case. Call the district or county clerk’s office to learn the filing fee for your annulment case. Learn more here: Court Fees and Fee Waivers.

Make copies:

  • Make 2 copies of your completed Original Petition to Annul Marriage.
  • Make 2 copies of the Statement of Inability to Afford Payment of Court Courts if you are asking the court to waive court costs.
  • You do not need copies of the Civil Case Information Sheet or the Information on Suit Affecting the Family Relationship.
Step 4: File (turn in) your starting forms.
File (turn in) your completed Petition and additional starting forms with the court. 
  • To file your forms online, go to E-File Texas and follow the instructions.
  • To file your forms in person, take the Petition and additional starting forms (and copies) to the district or county clerk’s office in the county you determined is the correct county to file for annulment.  
You need to find out if your county has standing orders. If it does, you will need to attach a copy of the standing orders to your petition. 

At the clerk’s office:
  • Turn in your Petition and other starting forms (and copies). 
  • Pay the filing fee (or file your completed Statement of Inability to Afford Payment of Court Costs if you cannot afford the fee). You can call the clerk’s office ahead of time to learn the filing fee for your case.
  • Ask the clerk if there is a local standing order that you need to follow or attach to any of your documents. 
  • Ask the clerk if there are local rules or procedures—like standing orders—that you need to know about for your annulment.
  • The clerk will write your “Cause Number” and “Court Number” at the top of the first page of your Petition.  (Write these numbers at the top of any document you file in your annulment case.)
  • The clerk will “file stamp” your copies with the date and time. The clerk will keep the original and give you back your copies. One copy is for you and one copy is for your spouse.
Step 5: Ask your spouse to sign an Answer or Waiver of Service.

Give your spouse:

WARNING! Do not hand-deliver any papers to your spouse if there has been violence during your relationship, especially if a judge has signed a Protective Order ordering you or your spouse to stay away from the other. You can have your spouse served instead.  If you need to have your spouse served, use these instructions instead: Instructions & Forms for a Default Annulment of Marriage without Children. 

Ask your spouse to:

  • (1) Fill out and sign the Respondent’s Original Answer form - OR - the Waiver of Service Only form. Your spouse can fill out and sign either form.
    • The Waiver of Service Only form must be signed in front of a notary. If your spouse plans to sign the Waiver of Service Only form, tell your spouse to sign it in front of a notary at least one day after you filed the Petition. Otherwise, your spouse will have to redo it.
    • The Respondent’s Original Answer form does not have to be signed in front of a notary.
    • Note: If your spouse will not fill out and sign a Respondent’s Original Answer form or Waiver of Service Only form, you must have your spouse served by a constable, sheriff or private process server. Use these instructions instead: Instructions & Forms for a Default Annulment of Marriage without Children
  • (2) Return the signed form to you.
    • TIP: If your annulment is agreed, your spouse must also sign a completed Decree of Annulment form. It may save you time to fill out the Decree of Annulment form now and send it to your spouse with the Answer or Waiver of Service.  Read Step 6 for information about filling out the Decree. You can also wait until later in the process to fill out the Decree of Annulment form.
Step 6: Fill out the Decree of Annulment.

Fill out the Decree of Annulment form: Decree of Annulment

You will ask the judge to sign your Decree of Annulment form when it’s time to finish your annulment. When signed by the judge, the Decree of Annulment makes orders that your marriage is null and void, and that you have accumulated no community property other than personal effects. It may include other orders depending on your case.

The Decree of Annulment form must be completely filled out (except for the judge’s signature) before you go to court. You and your spouse may want to fill out the Decree of Annulment form together.

When you fill out the Decree of Annulment:

  • Print your answers using blue or black ink.
  • Do not leave blanks.
  • Talk to a lawyer if you have questions or need help.

TIP: It’s a good idea to have a family law lawyer review your completed Decree of Annulment. You can hire a lawyer just to review your Decree of Annulment. This is called “limited scope representation.” You may also be able to talk with a lawyer for free at a legal clinic. If you need help finding a lawyer, you can:

Step 7: Ask your spouse to sign the Decree of Annulment.

Ask your spouse to:

  • review and sign your completed Decree of Annulment form, and
  • return the signed Decree of Annulment form to you. 

Note: Make sure the Decree of Annulment form is completely filled out before your spouse signs it. You CANNOT make changes to the Decree once it has been signed by your spouse, unless your spouse initials each change.

You will also:

  • sign the Decree of Annulment form - and -
  • keep the signed Decree of Annulment form until it is time to finish your case.

Note: If your spouse filed an answer or waiver of service only but will not sign the Decree of Annulment form, your annulment is contested.  To finish a contested annulment, you must set a contested final hearing. You must give your spouse at least 45 days’ notice of the final hearing. Read this article to learn more: How to Set a Contested Final Hearing (in a Family Law Case).  It’s always best to have a lawyer if your case is contested

 

Step 8: Get ready for court

Call the clerk’s office to find out when and where the court hears uncontested annulment cases.

You must give testimony to the judge when you go to court to finish your annulment. This is sometimes called “prove-up” testimony. You will testify about each of the points in your petition form. Remember, everything you say in court must be true and correct.  You can be charged with a crime for lying in court.

Read the article Tips for the Courtroom for more information about going to Court.

Step 9: Go to court to finish your annulment.

Bring these papers to the courthouse on the day you plan to finish your annulment:

  • A file-stamped copy of your Original Petition to Annul Marriage.  
  • A Waiver of Service or Answer filled out and signed by your spouse.
  • A Decree of Annulment completely filled out and signed by both you and your spouse. ​

When you get to the courthouse, go to the clerk’s office.

  • Ask the clerk if you need the court file or docket sheet (list of what has been filed in your case).

When you get to the courtroom, tell the clerk you are there and give the clerk your paperwork. Sit down until the judge calls your case.

When the judge calls your case, walk to the front of the courtroom and stand in front of the judge’s bench. The judge will ask you to raise your right hand and swear to tell the truth. The judge may ask you questions or may ask you to read your testimony. It’s a good idea to write down everything you want to say so you can read it to the judge if you get nervous.

The judge will listen to what you say and review your papers. If everything is in order the judge will sign your Decree of Annulment.

Step 10: File (turn-in) the signed Decree of Annulment.

After the judge signs your Decree of Annulment, go back to the clerk’s office.

  • File (turn-in) your Decree of Annulment and any other orders signed by the judge. Your annulment is NOT final until you do so.
  • Get a certified copy of your Decree of Annulment and any other orders signed by the judge from the clerk while you are there. The clerk may charge a fee for the certified copies.  
Step 11: After your annulment is finished.

Send a file-stamped copy of your Decree of Annulment and any other orders signed by the judge to your spouse.