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What is an annulment and how is it different from a divorce in Colorado?

Posted by attorney Suzanne Griffiths

Annulment, legally deemed "a declaration of invalidity of marriage" in Colorado, is thought to be a quick and easy way to end a short marriage. Since Colorado is a no-fault divorce state, there is a diminished need for annulments and the practice of obtaining them has become relatively uncommon. While the outcome of divorce and annulment is very similar, divorce legally ends a marriage while an annulment essentially implies that the marriage never existed.

When seeking a divorce, the parties of the marriage must prove that the marriage itself is "irretrievably broken," as opposed to an annulment, when the parties must cite a legal reason for the process to continue. The following are some of the legal grounds for annulment in the state of Colorado:

1.) One spouse lacked the mental capacity to consent at the time of marriage (including mental capacity, drug, or alcohol use).

2.) One spouse was under the age of consent in the state (18 as an adult or 16 with legal consent from parents/guardians) and lacked the consent of the spouse's parent, guardian, or the court to marry.

3.) One spouse married because of the other spouse's misrepresentation or fraudulent intent behind the marriage.

4.) One spouse married under duress or pressure.

5.) One spouse married as a jest or dare.

Each of the different legal grounds for annulment has corresponding deadlines during which the annulment must be initiated in order for it to be considered. There are also different conditions that must be met by the marriage when it began in order for an annulment to be granted. When examining the legal options for ending your marriage, it is important to consider all of the facts and seek professional advice before coming to a decision to find the solution best for you.

Assisting author: Kaela Zihlman

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For other information, see the Colorado Divorce & Family Law Guide at

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