Annulment vs Divorce: Understanding the Differences

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Annulment vs. Divorce: Understanding the Differences

When a marriage reaches a point where the parties involved can no longer continue their relationship, they often consider legal options such as annulment or divorce. In the state of Colorado, both annulment and divorce are available as avenues to dissolve a marriage. However, they differ in terms of their legal effects and requirements. In this blog, we will explore the distinctions between annulment and divorce in Colorado.

Annulment in Colorado

An annulment is a legal declaration that a marriage is considered void or invalid, as if it never existed. It essentially declares that the marriage was invalid from its inception, based on specific grounds recognized by the court. In Colorado, the grounds for annulment include:
  1. Lack of Capacity: If either party was unable to give consent due to mental incapacity or under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the marriage, an annulment may be granted.
  1. Fraud or Duress: An annulment can be sought if one party was induced into the marriage by fraud or if consent was obtained under duress or force.
  1. Underage Marriage: If one or both parties were underage (under 18 years old) at the time of the marriage without proper consent or court authorization, an annulment may be granted.
  1. Marriage was Illegal: If the marriage was prohibited by law, an annulment may be granted. For example, a marriage entered into prior to the dissolution of an earlier marriage of one of the parties can be annulled.
It is important to note that for an annulment to be granted, the requesting party must provide sufficient evidence to support one of these specific grounds.

Divorce in Colorado

Divorce is the legal process of ending a valid marriage. In Colorado, divorce is commonly referred to as “dissolution of marriage.” Unlike annulment, which declares a marriage invalid, divorce recognizes the marriage as valid but terminates the legal relationship between the spouses.
Key Differences Between Annulment and Divorce
  1. Legal Status: An annulment declares a marriage void from its inception, as if it never existed. A divorce, on the other hand, recognizes the marriage as valid but terminates the legal relationship between the spouses.
  1. Grounds: Annulment requires specific grounds that prove the marriage was invalid from the beginning. Divorce in Colorado, on the other hand, can be granted based on the no-fault ground of the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.
  1. Time Limit: There is no specific time limit to seek an annulment in Colorado. However, there is a two-year residency requirement to file for divorce in the state.
  1. Distribution of Property: In a divorce, the court will divide marital property and debts based on the principles of equitable distribution. In an annulment, property division may be approached differently, as the marriage is considered invalid from the beginning.
  1. Children: Both annulment and divorce address child custody, visitation, and child support. However, child-related issues can be more straightforward in an annulment, as there is no presumption of parental responsibilities or rights based on marital status.

Call the Drake Law Firm Today:

It is important to consult with an experienced family law attorney to understand your options and determine the best course of action. If you have any questions about your divorce or annulment, contact us at the Drake Law Firm today at 303-261-8111.
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