Castle Rock Divorce Attorney Explains Difference Between Divorce & Annulment

A marriage can be legally terminated in one of two ways—divorce or annulment—and there are distinct differences between the two. While many believe that an annulment is a convenient way to end a brief marriage, Colorado law outlines specific circumstances to determine eligibility for both. So you should know how does annulment differ from divorce in Colorado?  First—a look at the basic differences between divorce and annulment:


In a divorce, which is the legal dissolution of a valid marriage initiated by one or both parties, the couple are both returned to single status and can remarry. A “no-fault” divorce, available in most states, dissolves the marriage with neither person named as responsible for the break-up. Some states require a legal separation or waiting period to obtain a no-fault divorce. A “fault” divorce is sought when one spouse wishes to blame the other for the marital breakdown. Some common reasons for seeking a “fault” divorce include physical or emotional abuse, abandonment for an extended period of time, adultery or conviction of a crime.


An annulment, which can be initiated by either party in the marriage, essentially cancels a marriage legally. In fact, an annulment declares that the marriage neither existed nor was validated. In the eyes of the law, the marriage is null and void. Some common grounds for annulment include:


The crime of marrying someone while still legally married to another or having multiple spouses at the same time.


Using lies and misrepresentation to lure a person into marriage.

Unlawful Marriage:

A marriage prohibited based on familial relationship or considered incestuous

Mental Illness or Incapacity:

At the time of the marriage a spouse is emotionally disturbed, mentally ill, or under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and unable to make an informed decision.

Underage Marriage:

One or both spouses marry too young without court approval or parental consent.

Unconsummated Marriage:

The undisclosed inability of one spouse to have intercourse. In reality, annulment in Colorado is a rare proceeding. It is often more difficult to obtain an annulment than to simply use the state’s no-fault divorce option to terminate a brief marriage. Sometimes a spouse desires an annulment for religious reasons (indicating the marriage never happened) or to reestablish payments or benefits lost if one remarries. Specific grounds must be proven for the court to invalidate (Colorado’s legal term for “annulment”) the marriage. Though the outcome in both proceedings is the same, it is important for you to fully understand the differences, so you can feel confident in your choice. For expert advice regarding divorce and annulment from a skilled divorce attorney in Denver, please contact us at (303) 814-2600  for a free consultation.