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Understanding the difference between an annulment and divorce

For most Colorado couples, entering into marriage is an expression of commitment, one that is taken very seriously. However, there are circumstances under which marriages are brought to a close in a very short duration of time. In such cases, an annulment can be a powerful tool. Understanding the differences between an annulment and a divorce can help spouses make the right decision for their particular set of needs.

A divorce is the legal end of a marriage. It entails a process through which property is divided, child custody rights are determined and many other matters are sorted out either through negotiation or by the power of the court. A divorce can take place at any time after a marriage has been initiated.

An annulment, on the other hand, is a legal proclamation that the marriage never took place. It is the nullification of a marriage. An annulment prevents any claim of property division or other matters that would fall under the umbrella of a divorce. That makes it an attractive option for many couples, especially those in a brief marriage, or who have strong religious beliefs concerning divorce.

In order to obtain an annulment, certain legal grounds must be met. Common grounds for annulment include acts of fraud, mental incapacitation on the part of one party, or the presence of bigamy or incest. An annulment may be granted in cases where a marriage was the result of a dare or joke, or where one or both spouses were under duress at the time of marriage.

Proving these grounds can be difficult, which is why is it important for Colorado spouses seeking an annulment to gain the assistance of a divorce attorney. In order to have a marriage annulled, a strong legal argument must be made. Understanding how to structure that argument is key to achieving a favorable outcome.

Source: Women's Health, "What's The Difference Between A Divorce And An Annulment?", Macaela Mackenzie, Sept. 7, 2017

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Brandon Ceglian's practice focus is family law, landlord-tenant law / real estate, civil litigation, criminal / DUI, and collections. View Attorney Profile

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