What Is Colorado's Annulment Law?

By Mark Vansetti

In Colorado, a Declaration of Invalidity of Marriage, commonly known as an annulment, terminates a marriage. An annulment is different from a divorce because, in the eyes of the law, a marriage never existed after obtaining an annulment. On the other hand, when a divorce ends a marriage, the marriage is recognized under the law to have existed prior to the divorce. Colorado statutes permit annulments under limited circumstances; the process for obtaining an annulment in the state is different from obtaining a divorce decree.

In Colorado, a Declaration of Invalidity of Marriage, commonly known as an annulment, terminates a marriage. An annulment is different from a divorce because, in the eyes of the law, a marriage never existed after obtaining an annulment. On the other hand, when a divorce ends a marriage, the marriage is recognized under the law to have existed prior to the divorce. Colorado statutes permit annulments under limited circumstances; the process for obtaining an annulment in the state is different from obtaining a divorce decree.

Grounds for Annulment

Under Colorado law, a person seeking an annulment must prove one of several grounds to the court's satisfaction: proof that one of the spouses lacked the mental capacity to be married; one spouse was not old enough to legally marry in Colorado; one of the spouses is impotent and the other did not know that prior to marriage; the marriage occurred because one spouse was under duress or as a jest, a dare or a misrepresentation; or the marriage was void due to bigamy, polygamy, incest or any other reason that would make it illegal.

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Annulment Deadlines

Depending on which legal ground a person uses to obtain an annulment, a time frame or deadline may apply. If the annulment is sought due to lack of mental capacity, or if the marriage was the product of fraud, duress, jest or a dare, the person must initiate the annulment within six months of the marriage. If one spouse is found to be impotent, the annulment must be initiated within 12 months. For marriages where one spouse was under the legal age, the deadline is 24 months after the marriage. When a marriage is void due to bigamy, polygamy or incest, either spouse may seek an annulment at anytime. While these deadlines apply to obtaining an annulment, the length of the marriage prior to the initiation of the legal process is irrelevant.

Residency Requirement

If the parties were married in Colorado, there is no residency requirement before a party can seek an annulment; the parties could be living anywhere and seek an annulment of the marriage in Colorado. If the marriage occurred outside of Colorado, at least one of the parties must have resided in the state for 30 days before the annulment can be initiated.

End of Marriage Issues

An annulment is not technically the same as a divorce, but many areas of Colorado family law apply to both methods of ending a marriage. As a result, contested annulments may take as long to obtain as a typical divorce. Laws related to division of marital property, child support and alimony are applicable to an annulment in the same manner as a divorce. Children born during the marriage and before the annulment was finalized are considered legitimate under Colorado law. Colorado is a no-fault divorce state, so in many situations it may be easier to obtain a divorce than an annulment even though an annulment may be preferred for religious or other reasons.

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Missouri Annulment Information

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What Is the Time Limit for Getting an Annulment in the State of Nevada?

Nevada allows couples to annul a marriage in a limited number of cases. Because of the wide availability of divorce, state law strictly limits the grounds for which an annulment may be sought. In addition, while there is typically no time limit for bringing the action, an exception applies to marriages based on age of consent, which must be brought within one year after the minor child reaches 18.

Annulment vs. Divorce in the State of Illinois

Couples who choose to end their marriages do so for a number of reasons. In Illinois, as in other states, spouses have the option of ending their marriage by divorce or annulment. In a divorce, the Illinois court orders the dissolution of a valid marriage. However, when a marriage is annulled in Illinois, the marriage is invalidated and treated as if it never took place.

Basis for Annulment

Couples often mistakenly assume that an annulment is an easier, cheaper and quicker alternative to a divorce, but in fact, obtaining an annulment is generally more difficult. State laws allow annulment in only limited circumstances. Couples cannot get an annulment unless their situation fits one of their state's legal grounds, or bases, for annulment. The process and bases for annulment varies by state, but annulment generally is not based on the length of time the couple has been married.

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