Like a divorce, an annulment terminates a marriage; though the grounds and reasons for getting one and the subsequent process are different from a divorce.
In Colorado, an annulment is called a “Declaration of Invalidity.” A court may declare a marriage invalid if:
Lack of capacity to consent. A Colorado marriage may be declared invalid (annulled) if a party lacked capacity to consent at the time the marriage was solemnized, ether because of mental incapacity or infirmity or because of the influence of alcohol, drugs, or other incapacitating substances.
Lack of physical capacity. A Colorado marriage may be declared invalid (annulled) if a party lacked the physical capacity to consummate the marriage by sexual intercourse, and the other party did not at the time the marriage was solemnized know of the incapacity.
Underage. A Colorado marriage may be declared invalid (annulled) if a party was under the age as provided by law and did not have judicial approval as provided by law. A party must be eighteen or older to get married without judicial approval. A party sixteen or seventeen may get married with judicial approval.
Fraud. A Colorado marriage may be declared invalid (annulled) if 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. Prohibited by law. A Colorado marriage may be declared invalid (annulled) if the marriage is prohibited by law. A marriage is prohibited by law if:
A Petition for a Declaration of Invalidity (annulment) based upon lack of capacity to consent, fraud, duress, or jest must be filed no later than six months after the petitioner obtained knowledge of the described condition. A Petition for a Declaration of Invalidly (annulment) based upon lack of physical capacity to consummate the marriage must be filed no later than one year after the petitioner obtained knowledge of the condition.
A Petition for a Declaration of Invalidly (annulment) because a party was underage must be filed by the underage party, his or her parent, or his or her guardian, within two years of the date of the marriage.
A Petition for a Declaration of Invalidly (annulment) because the marriage was prohibited by law may be filed by either party, by the legal spouse (in case of bigamous, polygamous, or incestuous marriages), by an appropriate state official, or by a child of either party any time prior to the death of either party or prior to the final settlement of the estate of either party and the discharge of the personal representative, executor, or administrator of the estate or prior to six months after an estate is closed.
The provisions that apply to a dissolution of marriage (divorce) proceeding relating to 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.
However, in the case of In re Marriage of Joel & Roohi, the Colorado Court of Appeals held that the most a court may award to a party who engaged in fraud is the proportion of property or increase in value attributable to the financial contribution of that party.
Whatever your specific matter is, the law firm of Hampton & Pigott’s legal expertise can help guide you through your options and help you to choose the best solutions for your situation if you are looking navigate the legal waters of separating from your partner.