There may be a number of personal reasons why a spouse may want to seek an annulment as opposed to a divorce. If you are contemplating a marriage annulment, you should consult a Denver annulment lawyer who can explain the process and advise you on whether you have grounds to have your marriage declared invalid. At Plog & Stein, P.C., we can determine if you are eligible for an annulment and guide you through the proceedings if you choose this path. We understand the uncertainty and stress that may accompany any method of dissolving a marriage, but we will be your steadfast advocates as well as sympathetic listeners. With decades of legal knowledge, we understand what’s needed to provide the quality representation you deserve.The Process of Pursuing an Annulment in Colorado
Annulments and divorces are similar in that they make determinations about the status of a marriage. A divorce allows a couple to legally dissolve their marriage, whereas an annulment declares that the marriage never legitimately existed. Put another way, an annulment treats the official relationship as if it never happened. Although annulments are not as common as divorces, the process gives couples an alternative to divorce that may be appropriate in certain, specific situations.
Since an annulment is a drastic way to end the marriage, it is only available in certain situations, unlike a divorce. Under Colorado law, the grounds on which a marriage can be annulled include the following:
- Lack of consent to the marriage, due to intoxication or a mental condition, or because one party lacked the capacity to consent;
- Fraud or misrepresentation was involved in the marriage;
- One or both spouses only agreed to the marriage because of duress;
- Bigamy, polygamy, or incest was involved, or there is a previously unresolved marriage;
- One party was underage at the time of the marriage and failed to obtain the consent of a parent, a guardian, or a Colorado judge;
- Inability of one party to consummate the marriage by sexual intercourse, of which the other party was unaware at the time of getting married; or
- One party married the other in jest or as a dare.
The process of getting an annulment begins with petitioning for it at the district court. An annulment attorney in the Denver area can guide you through each step of this process. If you were married outside Colorado, one of the parties must have resided in Colorado for at least 30 days prior to beginning the court action. However, there is no waiting period if you were married in the state of Colorado. Unlike with a divorce, there is no mandatory waiting period in annulment cases between the commencement and the decree of marriage invalidity.
Colorado is slightly different from some states in that it does not have an official court action known as an “annulment of marriage.” Instead, a party can ask the court for a “declaration of invalidity,” which is essentially the equivalent of an annulment. In short, this document states that your marriage was never valid at the outset. You should be aware that if you were married in a different state, and that other state permits one of the above-mentioned grounds to take place for a legitimate marriage, Colorado will honor the marriage.
Depending on the reason for the annulment, the time frames in which you must file a court petition will vary. Our Denver annulment attorneys can explain the specific time frame that applies to your situation. For example, annulments of unconsummated marriages may be petitioned within 12 months. Annulments of marriages in which a party was under the age of consent can be petitioned within 24 months. Annulments of marriages based on a claim of duress or fraud may be petitioned within six months after the marriage. Meanwhile, marriages based on claims of polygamy, bigamy, or incest can be annulled at any time. We can examine your case and help figure out how much time you need to seek an annulment. It is important to be aware that establishing the invalidity of a marriage requires “clear and convincing” evidence of one of the above grounds.
In some cases, getting the marriage declared invalid may only be part of the story. Colorado statute authorizes parties to seek orders regarding division of marital property, spousal maintenance, and other issues which would come with a divorce. Thus, not all annulment cases will be as simple as just voiding the marriage.Seek Representation from an Annulment Lawyer in Denver or Surrounding Communities
If you believe that your marriage should be annulled, or if you are trying to determine whether an annulment or a divorce is more appropriate for your situation, we can help. At Plog & Stein, P.C., our Denver divorce attorneys are skilled in handling complex family law issues, whether they involve parents with young children, spouses with significant marital assets, spousal and child support, or other sensitive situations. Bolstered by more than 70 years of combined legal experience, we represent people in cities such as Denver, Aurora, Centennial, Highlands Ranch, Castle Rock, and other areas of Denver, Douglas, and Arapahoe Counties. For any questions or concerns pertaining to an annulment, call us at 303-781-0322 or contact us online.