Colorado Annulment Deadlines
An annulment in Colorado must be initiated within the following timeframes, and only by the persons indicated:
- Lack of capacity to consent, fraud, duress, jest/dare: Within 6 months of learning of the grounds for annulment, and only by the aggrieved spouse (or representative for a party which lacked consent). C.R.S. 14-10-111(2)(a).
- Lack of physical capacity to consummate marriage: Within 12 months of learning of it, by the aggrieved spouse. C.R.S. 14-10-111(2)(b)
- Under age of consent: Within 24 months of marriage, by the underage spouse, or his/her parent or guardian. C.R.S., 14-10-111(2)(c)
- Void marriage: Any time prior to one spouse's death or settlement of either spouse's estate, by either spouse, either spouse's children, an appropriate state official, or, in cases of bigamy/polygamy, the legal spouse. C.R.S. 14-10-111(3).
Colorado Annulment Procedure
The standard of proof in an annulment case is the same as most other civil matters - preponderance of the evidence (i.e. greater than 50%). In re: Marriage of Farr, 228 P.3d 267 (Colo. App. 2010). The Court of Appeals rejected the husband’s assertion that “clear and convincing evidence” was required, holding that a 1961 Colorado decision to the contrary was overturned by statute.
The procedures for a Colorado annulment are identical to those for a divorce or legal separation, except that there is no requirement that one spouse be a resident for 90 days prior to commencing the annulment, and there is no statutory 90-day waiting period between commencement and the decree of invalidity of marriage.
Pursuant to C.R.S. 14-10-111(7), if the marriage was entered into in Colorado, an annulment can be initiated at any time within the deadline period referenced above. If the marriage was entered into outside of Colorado, at least one of the spouses must have been a Colorado resident for 30 days prior to commencing the annulment proceedings.
However, except for the briefest of marriages not involving children, the Colorado family law court may still need to resolve issues pertaining to the division of marital property and debts, maintenance, and, if there are children, parenting rights and responsibilities and child support. So realistically, a contested annulment will take as long as a divorce or legal separation.
And even with an uncontested annulment, most people have less success than celebrities at finding a Colorado family law judge or magistrate who will grant an annulment as quickly as is popularly depicted.