Entering into a marriage should never be taken lightly, but sometimes outside factors result in rash decisions.
Do you need an annulment? In Colorado, a judge can grant a "declaration of invalidity" to end the marriage.
The annulment attorneys at Dunsing, Deakins & Galera, LLC, in Denver, CO, can help clients in Avon, Vail Valley, and surrounding areas.
Should I Just Get a Divorce?
Wipe the Slate Clean
Annulling a marriage essentially means that the union never took place between the two parties. This can lift a tremendous weight off your shoulders, simplify your finances, and more.
Avoid Religious Implications
Some religions see divorce in a very negative light. Annulments mean that many people can remarry in the same faith — a door that would not be left open if they proceeded with a divorce.
Address Social Considerations
Although it's becoming more and more commonplace, divorce still carries a certain stigma within certain social circles.
How Long Do I Have to File?
Generally speaking, in Colorado, you have six months to file for an annulment after the marriage takes place. This applies for a lack of mental capacity (you were drinking or under the influence of drugs) or a claim of duress, dare, or fraud. Other grounds have extended time limits, and claims of bigamy, polygamy, or incest have no time limit.
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Grounds for Annulment
Qualifying for an annulment can be quite difficult. The unique circumstances are important, and an attorney can strengthen the case for your qualification.
A marriage can be considered void, meaning it was illegal from the start, or voidable. Voidable means you have grounds for an annulment if one spouse requests it. You might have grounds to file if:
- You lacked the mental capacity to agree to the marriage knowingly. This could mean you were under the influence of drugs or alcohol or were suffering from a serious mental disorder.
- The marriage was based on a dare or another type of fraud. In other words, you would not have moved forward with the marriage if you fully understood your spouse's intent.
- You were under duress. For example, your partner threatened you or was abusive to coerce you into marriage.
- Your spouse is permanently impotent (unable to consummate the marriage) and was withholding this information from you.
- You or your spouse were underage when the marriage took place and failed to obtain the permission of a judge, guardian, or parent. In Colorado, that means under the age of 18 or, if you are legally emancipated, under the age of 16.5.
- You and your spouse are related by blood (incest), or one of you was still married to someone else (bigamy).
It's important to understand that if you knowingly stayed with your spouse when any of these considerations came to light, you might not have grounds for an annulment. In addition to having grounds to file, you must have been married in Colorado or living in the state for at least 30 days.
Protect Your Future Contact an Annulment Attorney
Anyone can download and complete the paperwork to file for an annulment in Denver or throughout the state of Colorado. But like many legal processes that fall under the umbrella of family law, it's never recommended that you do it on your own.
If you're considering a divorce or annulment and live in Avon, Vail Valley, or nearby, contact an annulment lawyer at Dunsing, Deakins & Galera, LLC in Denver, CO. Fred Dunsing handles all types of family law and has been helping clients just like you for over 20 years. Put your trust in an attorney who has earned an AV-Preeminent® rating with Martindale-Hubbell®, the highest rating an attorney can receive. Message our law firm or call our attorney today at:
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Mr. Joseph Galera, Esq., is the lawyer recommended by the law office to handle my case, and within a few hours of taking him on as my attorney, I already felt I had made the right choice.View On Google
Frequently Asked Questions
Can Annulling My Marriage Help Me Avoid Paying Alimony?
An important part of divorce proceedings includes determining child support and spousal maintenance (referred to as alimony in other states). In many states, declaring a marriage void means both parties can avoid these financial obligations, but Colorado is different. The same spousal and child support laws apply, as well as property and debt division.
If I Annul My Marriage, Do I Lose My Rights As a Father?
In Colorado, the law states that children born of an illegitimate marriage are considered legitimate. This means that fathers should have the same custodial and visitation rights whether they proceed with a divorce or annulment. Enlisting the help of a family law attorney at our Denver office can ensure your rights are protected.
Can You Get Your Marriage Annulled if You've Already Had Sex?
Failing to consummate the marriage is just one consideration. Even if your spouse is not impotent and you have had sex, you might qualify for annulment based on other grounds.
Do Both Parties Have to Agree to an Annulment?
Only one spouse needs to file for an annulment. What's more important is the persuasive evidence needed to prove to the court the marriage is void or voidable. An attorney with our Denver firm will work closely with you to gather all the pertinent information to make a strong case.
Do Annulments Only Apply to Catholics?
Many people are familiar with the term "annulment" in a primarily religious context. Although the Catholic Church can annul a marriage, this is not a replacement for filing a petition with the Colorado Family Court. In fact, Catholics who want to ask for an annulment and remarry within the Church will first need to be legally divorced.
I've Been Married for Years. Can I Still Get an Annulment?
In most cases, you have between six and 24 months after the marriage took place to file for an annulment. But in cases of bigamy or incest, there is no time limit.