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When to Get An Annulment (Declaration of Invalidity)

Getting an annulment is very difficult. The first thing you need to know is that in Colorado it’s not even called annulment: it’s called a “Declaration of Invalidity.”

In contrast to a divorce, which indicates an end to the marriage, an annulment basically indicates that there never was a marriage, to begin with.

Typical Grounds for Getting an Annulment

There are several reasons a court might claim a marriage invalid. For example, when one party lacks the ability to consent due to mental incapacity or the influence of alcohol or drugs, the court will consider an annulment.

Another reason is if one party lacks the physical capacity to consummate the marriage via sexual intercourse and the other party was not made aware of this fact in advance of the marriage.

Sometimes the parties’ situation renders the marriage invalid, such as if your child is under the age of consent as provided by law and he or she runs off and gets married without your consent, he/she can petition for an annulment. If someone is attempting to marry a sibling or is trying to get married before they’re divorced from a previous marriage: all of these circumstances provide grounds for annulment.

Don’t Wait Too Long

If you wait too long to seek the annulment, the likelihood of getting one is much less. By way of example, a person that finds out that his/her partner is sexually impotent after the marriage, but stays married for years may not be granted an annulment.

There are deadlines you need to know about when considering an annulment. If you find out that your spouse can’t consummate the marriage, you have to file within one year. Again, you can’t stay married to someone for 10 years after finding out the grounds for the annulment and argue that the marriage never happened.

Why People Want an Annulment

Some people want to avoid paying maintenance/alimony or having to split up the property. If there was no marriage then you have no legal obligations to your spouse. Here’s an example: if a man’s 401K was worth $100k when he got married and it’s worth $250k when he and his wife decide to get a divorce, then $150k of it is marital property and the wife is entitled to an equitable share. If they get an annulment, she likely is not entitled to any portion of the 401K.

For some people, the reason for wanting an annulment is psychological. You may not want to be “branded” as a divorced person. I remember the character in “Friends”, Ross. His first divorce was because his wife became a lesbian, then he got drunk and married Rachel in Las Vegas, and, finally, he got divorced from his English wife because he said Rachel’s name at their wedding. He didn’t want to be known as a three-time loser. If he got his marriage annulled, he would have avoided that perception.

If you are considering an annulment, it is advised that you seek legal advice. Call our office today at (720) 999-9506 to set up a free consultation.