Seventeen states in the U.S. that are known as “no fault” divorce states: Wisconsin; Washington; Oregon; Nevada; Nebraska; Montana; Missouri; Minnesota; Michigan; Kentucky; Kansas; Iowa; Indiana; Hawaii; Florida; Colorado and California (all other states are known as ‘fault” divorce states due to need for the one filing for divorce to cite a valid reason due to which the divorce is being sought). In these “no fault” states, a spouse may file a petition for divorce without the need of having to cite any ground, such as abuse, adultery or abandonment. Simply stating “irreconcilable differences,” or “insupportability” which, under Texas law, is discord or conflict of personalities that destroys the legitimate ends of the marital relationship and prevents any reasonable expectation of reconciliation. Because irreconcilable differences, or insupportability renders a marriage beyond repair, it is, therefore, accepted as basis for divorce.
Divorce, however, may be filed only if the marriage entered into by two individuals is legally binding; marriages which, from the very start are null or invalid, may be terminated through annulment.
Annulment is a legal declaration of the cancellation of a marriage. It has to be canceled and declared canceled to give the spouses, or a spouse who has been offended, the right to enter into a legally binding marital union. A marriage is considered non-legally binding and, therefore, invalid from very start due to any of the following reasons:
- It was entered into by blood-related individuals (most states outlaw marriages between relatives closer than second cousins since this would be incest;
- One of the individuals is still in an existing marriage, thus, making succeeding marriages bigamous;
- One or both spouses are under the age of 16 when they entered into marriage.
There are instances, on the other hand, when a marital union is considered legal, but will have to voided or canceled due to the following grounds:
- Fraud, such as when one keeps secret a prior marriage, a felony conviction or addiction, or having a child from a previous marriage;
- Coercion, which is the case when one spouse was forced by the other to enter into marriage;
- Intoxication due either to alcohol or drug since this renders either of the spouses lacking the full capacity to consent to marriage;
- Mental incapacitation, which renders one or both spouses unable to fully grasp the responsibilities and duties of a married life; and,
- Impotence or the inability of one spouse to have sexual intercourse.
For a court to grant a petitioner for annulment, however, a petitioner for annulment should stop cohabiting with his/her partner after he/she learns of the claimed ground/s for the annulment. If the petitioner does otherwise, then no annulment will be granted by a Texas court.