Annulments require that one spouse show one or more of the following criteria, with respective time frames during which aggrieved parties must file indicated, where applicable:
- One spouse was mentally incapable of consenting to marriage (6 months)
- One spouse was not able to consummate the marriage, i.e. sexually consummate, and that this inability was concealed from the other spouse (12 months)
- One spouse was below the age of consent. (24 months)
- One spouse made fraudulent claims or misrepresented themselves in some way that was essential for the other party to consent to marriage.
- One spouse married under duress (uncommon)
- The marriage was made on a whim or as a ‘joke’
- One of the spouses was already married to another person and thus committed bigamy or polygamy.
Colorado law allows for two types of annulments: void marriages and voidable marriages. A void marriage is essentially a prohibited marriage, which would be true in the case of bigamy or incestuous marriages. In these cases, a formal judgment by the court is not necessary, though some couples may prefer that a court judgment be officially entered into the record. If the marriage is voidable but the respective time frames have not been met, annulment is not permitted, and the couple must file for a divorce. We will note that religious concerns are not grounds for an annulment. (See Separation) However, if the marriage is voidable, and the couple has been married long enough to sign contracts together or acquire debt and property, the court will address these issues just like a regular divorce. Additionally, children born into the marriage remain legitimate, and child support and child custody judgments will have to be made by the court.
Annulments are not particularly common these days, but for some people they are the right choice. Some couples can seek annulments if they think their divorce is void. Van Der Jagt Law Firm is a Denver divorce attorney that can best inform you on your options. Call for a free 30 minute consultation, or fill out the form on the right for further details.