When it comes to family law matters, you might have heard the words “divorce” and “dissolution” thrown around. In Texas, every divorce is a dissolution, but not every dissolution is a divorce. If you are mulling over dissolution vs. divorce, know that they both end a marriage. Dissolving your marriage in Texas means that your marriage is over, and a divorce is one of several ways to achieve that end. 

At the Stout Law Firm, PLLC, our board certified attorneys focus exclusively on family law matters. With our deep understanding of dissolution and divorce, we can help you make the right decisions in your family law case and protect your rights. 

Divorce vs. Dissolution: An Overview

If you have come to a crossroads in your relationship and are wondering about the difference between divorce and dissolution, the following information can help you determine the best way to end your marriage. Subchapters A, B, and C of Chapter 6 of the Texas Family Code identify three types of marriage dissolution in Texas:

  • Divorce,
  • Annulment, and
  • Declaring a marriage void.

Of these three types, divorce is the most common dissolution proceeding in Texas. 


Annulment is different from divorce. To have your marriage annulled, you (or your guardian in some cases) must prove one of the following:

  • You were (1) under the influence of drugs or alcohol, (2) lacked the capacity to consent to the marriage, and (3) have not voluntarily lived with your spouse since the effects of the intoxicating substance wore off;
  • You are under the age of 18;
  • You or your spouse were (1)  permanently impotent at the time of marriage, (2) you did not know about the impotence, and (3) you have not voluntarily lived with your spouse since discovering the impotency;
  • Fraud, force, or duress was used by your spouse to induce you to get married and you have not voluntarily lived with your spouse since learning of the fraud or the duress or force ended;
  • Your spouse was (1) mentally incapable of consenting to the marriage, (2) you did not know of the mental incapacity, and (3) you have not voluntarily lived with your spouse since learning about their incapacity; 
  • You were (1) mentally incapable of consenting to the marriage and (2) you have not voluntarily lived with your spouse in moments when you have had the capacity to recognize the marriage relationship; 
  • Your spouse was (1) divorced from someone else within 30 days of your marriage ceremony, (2) you did not know, and a reasonably prudent person would not have known, about the divorce, (3) you did not voluntarily live with your spouse during a time that a reasonably prudent person would have discovered the divorce, and (4) the suit for annulment is brought before the first anniversary of the marriage; or 
  • Your marriage ceremony occurred 72 hours or less after you received your marriage license and you have not been married for more than 30 days. 

You must act quickly to obtain an annulment of your marriage. Our skilled attorneys can take swift action to address your annulment and make sure that you have the proper evidence to establish your case.


A divorce is the dissolution of a valid marriage and involves the division of assets and child custody. A couple can divorce based on any of the following grounds:

  • Insupportablity (no-fault);
  • Abandonment;
  • Adultery;
  • Confinement in a mental hospital;
  • Conviction of a felony;
  • Cruelty; or
  • Living apart.

Of the above-listed grounds, insupportability is a no-fault ground for divorce that is easier to establish than the others. To prove this ground, you must plead that your marriage has become insupportable because of conflict or discord that has destroyed the legitimate ends of your relationship and prevents a reasonable expectation of reconciliation. Obtaining a divorce based on insupportability certainly has fewer constraints than an annulment, a void marriage, or a fault-based divorce. 

Declaring a Marriage Void

Although there might have been ceremonies performed and licenses issued—some marriages are invalid from the beginning and can be declared void. A marriage can be declared void if:

  • Either spouse was still married to another person at the time they married each other,
  • The spouses are related by blood or adoption,
  • A spouse is younger than 18 at the time of the marriage and has not obtained a court order removing their disabilities of minority; or 
  • The spouses have a former or current stepparent-stepchild relationship. 

If you are unsure what type of dissolution proceeding is applicable to your case, schedule a consultation with our attorneys to discuss the facts and circumstances of your case. We can help you review your options regarding the type of dissolution proceeding to pursue moving forward. 

Contact the Stout Law Firm, PLLC, Today

If you have questions about the difference between the dissolution proceedings, we have the answers at the Stout Law Firm, PLLC. We have decades of combined experience, and for many years, we have received honors from the legal community. We have the credentials, the reputation for excellence, and the passion to make the best out of any family law matter you may face. Please reach out to us to schedule a consultation

Angela Stout

Angela A. Stout was admitted to the State Bar of Texas in 2007. Ms. Stout has practiced law since 2007, with an emphasis in representing clients in family law matters. She earned her Juris Doctorate degree from South Texas College of Law in May of 2007. Ms. Stout became Board Certified in Family Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in December of 2015. The Texas Board of Legal Specialization is a specialized group of attorneys that must obtain exceptional experience in a specific area of law, pass a comprehensive exam, and complete ongoing continuing legal education in that specialized area. Additionally, Ms. Stout is certified as a mediator by the A.A. White Dispute Resolution Center.


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