Civil annulments are often viewed as an attractive “loophole” to escape a marriage gone wrong. We should all thank celebrities for that. Other folks often deem it as a cheaper, faster and less stressful alternative to a short-term divorce.
But let’s take your reasoning aside and focus on the facts. The following information will provide you with more general insights into the matter.
What Is Considered an Annulment in Colorado?
Colorado is a state that does not have a recognized court action called "annulment of marriage". Instead, the judge may grant you a "declaration of invalidity", which bears similar legal power. In short, this document states that your marriage was never deemed as valid in the first place.
Next, mind the fact that Colorado is a “no-fault” divorce state, meaning that simple divorces are processed fast and without much hassle. Yet, petitioning for a declaration of invalidity requires serious legal grounds. You will need to consult with Adams county divorce lawyers or local specialists in your area before starting the action.
Specific Legal Grounds for Obtaining Annulment in Colorado
Consider that you have a strong case if one of the following instances matches your current situation:
- Either of the spouses lacked the mental capacity to consent when the marriage took place due to mental issues, drugs or alcohol.
- Either of the spouses lacked the physical capacity to consummate the marriage (have physical intercourse). The other party did not know about this issue when the marriage took place.
- Either of the spouses was under the age of consent when the marriage took place. The legal marriage age in Colorado is 18, or 16 with consent. Or they did not obtain a legal consent from their parents, guardians or a local family law court to get married.
- One or both parties married under duress.
- One or both parties married as a dare or jest.
- The marriage was void due to bigamy/polygamy, incest or any other reason under the laws of the place where the marriage took place.
The final legal ground requires additional explanations. Under Colorado law, annulments may also take place if one party married in reliance on the other's fraudulent act or misrepresentation, which went "to the essence of the marriage".
The most common examples of fraudulent activities in this case are:
- Marriage for Green Card.
- Marriage for Financial Gain.
- Claim of (Terminal) Illness.
Annulment Timing and Procedures in Colorado
In order to file a court petition, you will need to adhere to the following timing depending on your situation:
- Unconsummated marriages may be petitioned within 12 months.
- Annulments due to lack of mental capacity, or based on the claim of duress, fraud, jest or dare must be petitioned within 6 months after the marriage took place.
- Under the age of consent marriage can be annulled within 25 months.
- Marriages based on a claim of polygamy, bigamy or incest can be annulled anytime.
While the procedures for obtaining an annulment in Colorado are similar to those required for getting a divorce or legal separation, mind the important differences in timing:
- Either of the spouses does not need to be a Colorado resident for 90 days prior to filing a court action.
- You will not have to wait mandatory 90 days between the commencement and the decree of marriage invalidity.
- If you got married outside of Colorado, at least one of the spouses should be a state resident for at least 30 days before the petition can be filed.
When processing an annulment case, the judges will use the same family laws related to marital property division, child support and visitation rights as for divorces. Children born during an annulled marriage are still considered legitimate. Hence, you will be required to provide a parenting plan, child support worksheet and support order before the court proceedings begin.
Contested annulments often take more time than standard divorces and require more legal preparations. For professional advice, you can always reach out to our Adams county divorce lawyers via email or phone.