Today, annulments are rare, but are still a legal option distinct from divorce. If an annulment is granted, it's like the marriage never happened, it's nullified. In divorce, the marriage not only happened, but because it happened, marital property division laws affect what assets you get to keep after the divorce.
Prohibited marriages are similar in that if a marriage wasn't legal to begin with, there's no need to divorce as the marriage is void. Sometimes, the barrier to the marriage is less significant and the marriage is considered "voidable" not void. For example, if a child gets married without the permission of his or her parents or guardians, ten years later when both spouses are adults and they have three children together, it would be unfair to claim the marriage wasn't valid due to that small defect.
The table below outlines Colorado annulment and prohibited marriage laws.
|Code Sections||Revised Statutes Section 14-10-111: Declaration of (Marriage) Invalidity, 14-2-110: Prohibited Marriage, and 18-6-301: Incest|
|Grounds for Annulment||
|Time Limits for Obtaining Annulment||The time limit to get an annulment depends on the reason for the annulment.
|Legitimacy of Children||Children of an invalid or prohibited marriage are legitimate , although this legal status is nearly irrelevant in modern times.|
|Prohibited Marriages||Cases when a marriage is prohibited:
|Same-Sex Marriages||Same-sex marriages are now legal in Colorado. On October 6, 2014, the Supreme Court decided not to hear two same-sex marriage cases out of Utah and Oklahoma that decided denying same-sex couples the freedom to marry is unconstitutional. As Colorado is in the same federal 10th Circuit as Utah and Oklahoma, same-sex marriage bans were unconstitutional there as well. Additionally, the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Obergefell v. Hodges established that bans on same-sex marriage violated the Fourteenth Amendment's equal protection clause, legalizing same-sex marriage in every state.|
|Common Law Marriages||Although many states don't recognize common law marriages, Colorado does. A common law marriage exists in Colorado, as long as a couple:
Note: State laws change frequently, so it's important to confirm the accuracy of the laws you're researching by conducting your own legal research or contacting an experienced Colorado family law attorney.
Contact a qualified attorney.