Colorado Springs Annulment
Sometimes there is a way to "unwind" a marriage outside of dissolution, AKA divorce. These situations are unusual however, and it is often less complicated simply to obtain a divorce. An annulment creates a scenario where the marriage is considered to have not occurred, whereas a divorce is a marriage that occurred and then was dissolved. Either party can request an annulment. In some cases, third parties can also seek an annulment, such as a legal spouse or state official.
However there are certain grounds that must be established to qualify for an annulment. Marriages are not automatically extinguished simply because one of these situations may pertain. Children born in the course of a marriage that is later annulled are legitimate children of both parties to the annulled marriage.Legal Grounds for Annulment
Grounds for annulment are:
- Mental Capacity. A spouse lacked the mental capacity to consent to marriage, for example because of mental incapacity or the use of an excessive amount of drugs, controlled substances or alcohol.
- Lack of Consummation. A spouse was unable to consummate the marriage and the other spouse was unaware of that fact.
- Age of Consent. A spouse was under age 18, or under age 16 without parental or court consent.
- Fraud. One spouse made a significant fraudulent misrepresentation that the other spouse relied on in agreement to marry.
- Duress. The marriage was not voluntary.
- Jest. One or both spouses married as joke, or
- Void Marriage. The marriage involved a violation of the law such as bigamy, polygamy, or incest.
All but the last category above are voidable marriages, which means that a court has to decide whether the marriage should be voided based on the facts. With bigamy, polygamy or incest, the Court just has to determine that the act occurred. Some examples of fraud significant enough to result in an annulment are: a false claim of terminal illness, marrying solely to obtain a visa, or marrying another solely for financial reasons. If one spouse lacked the physical ability to consummate the marriage and the other spouse was unaware of that fact at the time of marriage, that is a ground for annulment. A failure to consummate the marriage alone is not sufficient grounds to annul the marriage.Annulment Procedure
If the marriage occurred in Colorado, an annulment must be initiated within certain timeframes based on the reason. If not, then the ability to annul the marriage is lost. Of course, the parties can always divorce. Like in dissolution, the Court will divide assets and debts, allocate parental responsibilities and set child support. The same best interests of the child legal standard applies in annulment matters involving children.
Timeframes to file for annulment are:
- Capacity, fraud, consent, duress, jest, dare = six months
- Lack of capacity to consummate = one year
- Age of consent = two years
- Void marriage = any time prior to the death or final settlement of the estate of either party
Colorado Springs Divorce and family law matters are difficult to navigate alone. The court system is more complex than it should be. We can guide you through the Colorado Springs court experience by handling pleading and motion preparation and filing, negotiation, mediation, and court proceedings from start to finish. This allows you to focus on moving forward to a better future rather than on trying to figure out how the overly complex court system works. Remember that change often creates new opportunity and a better future. Janko Family Law can help ensure that your best interests are protected. Contact us at 719-344-5523 or complete our online form to set up a free thirty-minute informational consultation.