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What's the Difference Divorce vs. Annulment in Colorado?

By Fred Dunsing on April 20, 2020

Two pairs of folded hands on top of divorce papersFor those that wish to end their marriage, a divorce attorney can help ease the process for a quick and fair resolution.

When legally ending a marriage, couples may choose a divorce or an annulment. Although both options have similar outcomes, they are not the same. The attorneys of Dunsing, Deakins & Galera, take a moment to look at the differences between divorce versus annulment in Colorado. If you live in Denver, CO or the surrounding Avon and Vail Valley areas and would like more information, we welcome you to schedule a consultation.

What's the Difference Between a Divorce and an Annulment?

Both divorce and annulment are legal means to end a marriage, but they are not the same thing. Simply put, a divorce dissolves a marriage whereas an annulment contests the validity of the marriage, treating the marriage as it if never happened.

Although divorce and annulment are different, both require that spouses divide property and, if children are shared, child custody and child support must be agreed upon.

Annulment In the State of Colorado

In the state of Colorado, annulments are referred to as a declaration of invalidity of marriage. While the outcome of a divorce versus an annulment in Colorado is essentially the same, some people choose to seek an annulment for religious reasons, specifically for those with religious beliefs opposing divorce. Other times, couples seek an annulment for financial reasons, like to reestablish benefits in place before marriage.

Although the outcomes of an annulment and divorce are essentially the same, an annulment is sometimes more difficult to obtain as couples typically must meet certain criteria to qualify for an annulment.

Criteria for an Annulment

Unlike a divorce, an annulment erases a marriage, making it as though it never happened. Accordingly, annulments require certain criteria to be met before they will be granted. Some possible grounds for annulment include:

  • Lack of mental capacity: If one or both spouses did not have the mental capacity to consent at the time of marriage, an annulment may be granted. A common reason for lack of mental capacity is getting married while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • Marriage occurred under duress:  A marriage that occurred under duress, meaning that one or both spouses were married against their will, may qualify for an annulment.
  • Under age of consent: In Colorado, a person must be 18 or older or 16 with the consent of a legal guardian or the courts to marry. If one spouse was not of legal age to consent to marriage, the marriage may be annulled.
  • Fraud: A marriage may be annulled if one spouse went into it later to find the other spouse acted fraudulently or misrepresented something. For example, a person whose spouse falsely claims to be critically ill in order to persuade them to marry or marries for a visa may be granted an annulment.

No-Fault Divorce Can Help Those Who Don't Qualify for Annulment

For those who don't qualify for an annulment, divorce remains an effective option for ending a marriage. In Colorado, divorces are no-fault, meaning neither spouse needs to prove why the marriage should end.

Although there is no burden to try to qualify for a divorce like there is with an annulment, it is still beneficial to have a divorce attorney throughout the process to facilitate a speedy and fair resolution.

Schedule a Consultation

If you are facing divorce or considering an annulment, the attorneys of Dunsing, Deakins & Galera, LLC are standing by to help you in your time of need. To schedule a consultation, please call (303) 758-8981 at your earliest convenience.

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