A marriage should be entered into by two people who have all of the information they need to make an informed decision about the union. Unfortunately, some people enter into marriages under misconceptions borne from deceit, misrepresentation and fraud from the other party. These marriages are invalid in the State of Colorado. If you believe fraud or false representation induced your marriage, you may be eligible for an annulment.
What Is an Annulment?
An annulment can effectively end your marriage, but it is not a divorce. It is a legal decree stating that you were never married to begin with since the marriage was not valid. With a successful annulment, your status will return to what it was before your marriage. You will not be a divorced person; rather, you will be single, as if your marriage never happened. Annulments are much less common than divorces and legal separations. Some people prefer annulment to divorce, however, for religious or personal reasons. To have your marriage annulled in Colorado, you must show you have grounds proving the invalidity of your marriage. One of these grounds is fraud.
Reasons for Annulment in Colorado
Fraud is the intentional misrepresentation of facts with the purpose of deceiving someone for personal or financial gain. Fraud in marriage could refer to many misrepresentations, such as someone lying about already being married, having terminal cancer or being able to have children. False representations of age or citizenship status could also qualify as fraud. To have grounds for an annulment, the fraud must apply to an essential aspect of the marriage. Couples in Colorado can also file for annulments based on other grounds.
Lack of consummation of marriage
Lack of age of consent (or parent/guardian permission)
One or both parties agreed to the marriage as a jest or dare
One or both parties were under duress
The marriage is void due to polygamy, incest or other reasons
Fraud may affect the essential foundation of your marriage if your spouse tricked you into the union through a false claim. Fraud could involve false representations of potency, pregnancy, an illness, financial status, identity, citizenship, feelings or intentions. Lawfully, a person does not have to disclose certain things, such as a criminal background, to a spouse. Failure to disclose this type of information may not constitute fraud. If a spouse directly lies about something such as a criminal background, however, it may be fraud. A lawyer can help you identify fraud in your specific case.
How to Get an Annulment in Colorado
If you believe you have grounds to file for an annulment in Colorado based on fraud, speak to an attorney right away for advice. A divorce lawyer can give you the facts on annulments and review your case to see if you have the necessary elements. If so, your lawyer can represent you during an annulment case to help you prove to the courts that you entered into the marriage due to fraud. You or your lawyer will need to show that the other party was fraudulent and that this is what induced the marriage.
You will need to file annulment paperwork with the family court in your county to start the legal process. Do so as soon as possible after learning of the fraud, as a deadline will apply to your case. You will have six months from the date of learning of the grounds for annulment if you wish to base your claim on fraud, duress, mental incompetence or jest/dare. A lawyer can help you file the legal paperwork and work through related processes. If the courts accept your claim, a judge will grant the annulment and your marriage will disappear from the record. If you cannot get an annulment, you may have to file for divorce instead. Speak to an attorney for more information on annulments for fraud in Colorado.