With the celebrities getting divorced and making headlines in the news, annulments have become a topic with those looking to get divorced after a short-term marriage. In Colorado, the legal term for an annulment is a declaration of invalidity of marriage. The outcome is the same as a divorce meaning the property rights of spouses, maintenance, and support of and the allocation of parental responsibilities with respect to the children on dissolution of marriage are applicable to decrees of invalidity of marriage. For some individuals a declaration of invalidity of marriage may be important for some due to religious reasons or to reinstate benefits that are not available to those who have been married. Even though it may be important to some individuals, not everyone is entitled to get a declaration or invalidity of marriage, even if it was a very short-term marriage. In Colorado, certain criteria must be met to receive a declaration or invalidity of marriage. Under Colorado Revised Statute §14-10-111 one of the following circumstances must occur for the court to enter a decree declaring the invalidity of a marriage:
- A party lacked capacity to consent to the marriage, either because of mental incapacity or infirmity or because of the influence of alcohol, drugs, or other incapacitating substances;
- A party lacked the physical capacity to consummate the marriage by sexual intercourse, and the other party at the time the marriage did not know of the incapacity;
- A party was under the age as provided by law and did not have the consent of his parents or guardian or judicial approval as provided by law;
- One party entered into the marriage in reliance upon a fraudulent act or representation of the other party, which fraudulent act or representation goes to the essence of the marriage;
- One or both parties entered into the marriage under duress exercised by the other party or a third party, whether or not such other party knew of such exercise of duress;
- One or both parties entered into the marriage as a jest or dare; or
- The marriage is prohibited by law.
Marriages declared invalid in Colorado shall be so declared invalid as of the date of the marriage. If you believe you meet one of the criteria above it is very important to speak with an experienced Colorado Springs family law attorney as there are different limiting time periods in which to file for a declaration of invalidity of marriage under each of the criteria state above.