Divorce at Altitude: A Podcast on Colorado Family Law

Filing for an Annulment in Colorado | Episode 147

March 30, 2023 Ryan Kalamaya & Amy Goscha
Divorce at Altitude: A Podcast on Colorado Family Law
Filing for an Annulment in Colorado | Episode 147
Show Notes Transcript

Today, we’re taking a closer look at annulment, specifically how it relates to Colorado law. After a brief discussion of some of the famous annulment cases we know of, we find out how annulments work in Colorado, what you need to remember before filing, which grounds are acceptable for making a claim, and the different time restrictions set on applications. We end by exploring valid annulment claims, mostly pertaining to immigration and fraud. 

Key Points From This Episode:

  • Exploring the famous and/or celebrity annulments that we know of. 
  • The law surrounding annulments in Colorado. 
  • Important details and deadlines to remember for filing for an annulment. 
  • Acceptable grounds under which you can make your claim.  
  • The differences between application time restrictions. 
  • What happens when there is a legal reason that someone cannot be married. 
  • Taking a look at annulment as it relates to immigration and fraud.

What is Divorce at Altitude?

Ryan Kalamaya and Amy Goscha provide tips and recommendations on issues related to divorce, separation, and co-parenting in Colorado. Ryan and Amy are the founding partners of an innovative and ambitious law firm, Kalamaya | Goscha, that pushes the boundaries to discover new frontiers in family law, personal injuries, and criminal defense in Colorado.

To subscribe to Divorce at Altitude, click here and select your favorite podcast player. To subscribe to Kalamaya | Goscha's YouTube channel where many of the episodes will be posted as videos, click here. If you have additional questions or would like to speak to one of our attorneys, give us a call at 970-429-5784 or email us at info@kalamaya.law.



Ryan Kalamaya (3s):
Hey Everyone. I'm Ryan Kalamaya.

Amy Goscha (6s):
And. I am Amy Goscha.

Ryan Kalamaya (8s):
Welcome to the Divorce at Altitude. A Podcast on Colorado. Family Law.

Amy Goscha (13s):
Divorce is not easy. It really sucks. Trust me I. know Besides. being an experienced divorce attorney, I'm also a Divorce client.

Ryan Kalamaya (20s):
Whether You are someone considering divorce or a fellow family law attorney, listen in for weekly tips and insight into topics related to Divorce co parenting and Separation in Colorado. Hey Amy.

Amy Goscha (37s):

Ryan Kalamaya (38s):
What do Renee Zegar, Kenny Chesney. Carmen Electra, Dennis Rodman, Britney Spears, Kim Kardashian and Chris Humphreys. What do they have all in common?

Amy Goscha (52s):

Ryan Kalamaya (53s):
That's right. We're gonna be talking about Annulment here on Divorce at Altitude. I'm so excited.

Amy Goscha (1m 1s):
I know. We didn't realize that all those people had that in common, did we?

Ryan Kalamaya (1m 6s):
No, not until we were researching And. I checked out people.com about famous annulments. And to my knowledge, I don't think any of 'em have gotten annulments in Colorado. We don't have any famous annulments.

Amy Goscha (1m 22s):
Yeah, so annulments I mean, what's interesting about Colorado is there's a lot of states that actually have an action for Annulment. Colorado doesn't have an actual Annulment law or statute. So in Colorado we have, we essentially have, you have to invalidate the relationship or the marriage. So that's just kind of a different concept, you know, in Colorado.

Ryan Kalamaya (1m 44s):
Right. And so if people don't understand what Annulment, just the general concept we'll get into what Colorado like the version of Yeah, like the typical storyline is like Renee and, and Kenny Chesney. And I was telling you that I like found this out cuz they did a yoga class. It was like a Kenny Chesney yoga class. And I was just like interested about Kenny Chesney, not like a celebrity gossip. And I don't really find that to be particularly interested. Interesting to me. But I understand that for a lot of people, that's kind of the people dot com's number one Annulment. But they got married, they had this kind of a whirlwind relationship or engagement or they were like, let's get married. And then quickly thereafter they said we're out.

Ryan Kalamaya (2m 27s):
And I, think Kim Kardashian and Chris Humphreys, they were married for like 72 days. And And we will talk about maybe why they claimed Annulment. But what is the equivalent in Colorado and can you talk to me about what we could do if we got married And? we decided that we wanted to break up.

Amy Goscha (2m 50s):
Yeah. And what people don't understand. So in Colorado we would literally have to file a declaration for invalidity of marriage. So, and you can can also do that with the civil union as well in Colorado and what people, and we'll talk about the grounds that you can have to do that, which is very interesting. There's also corresponding or correlating timeframes that you can do that. So if you pass a certain timeframe under certain claims that you're saying that the marriage was invalid, you might not be able to file for it. So I think that's the biggest takeaway as well.

Ryan Kalamaya (3m 24s):
Right. So, okay, so how do people, what's the timing? What kind of deadlines do people need to know or how if they just got married and they're like, oh this is a mistake, I am feeling some cold feet and it's more than just the normal kind of what did I do? What options do people have?

Amy Goscha (3m 43s):
Yeah, and I've gotten those calls before, you know it's pretty rare but it's, oh my god, this just happened, can I get out of it? Type of scenarios and yes, but they're more extreme, like some of the types of ways that you can essentially invalidate a marriage. you know, we'll talk further about fraud. Like if you came to the marriage and it's based off of fraud, like fraudulent representation. That's one way. Another way is if you didn't have capacity or you were under duress, you know, we talk about marital agreements and entering prenups and whether or not they're valid based off of certain duress type claims. If you had a lack of capacity or you aren't of a legal age to be married, or if your marriage just wasn't legal, like if you were married to someone else and then got married, that would be grounds for an Annulment.

Amy Goscha (4m 33s):
If you physically had incapacity and you weren't able to consummate the marriage. you know, that's also a for Annulment and there's certain timeframes regarding that as well. So like for instance, if you have a claim for fraudulent misrepresentation, essentially you have to file that within six months of becoming aware of that fraudulent misrepresentation. Whereas if you're under, you know, a certain age to be married, which in Colorado is age 18, if you find out that your spouse is 16, you have 24 months from when you find out that your spouse is 16 to invalidate the marriage.

Amy Goscha (5m 15s):
So there's, you know, various timeframes when it comes to various types of claims.

Ryan Kalamaya (5m 20s):
Well that makes me feel better because sometimes my kids, the cheese kids, Colby and Jack, they're eight and six and so sometimes they have kind of these marriage ceremonies. Not all the time. I don't want Listeners to think that, you know, that happens all the time. But you know, it's one of those things that kids kind of, they wanna behave, they like adults and so sometimes they could get married, they have friends or say that they're married. And so it sounds like if they got married they'd have 24 months to undo that I mean by the time they're 10. Congratulations Colby, you are now eligible but she's gonna have to wait, wait until 18. If I have something to say about it, that's gonna be a little bit longer than that.

Ryan Kalamaya (6m 1s):
But that is good to know. So 24 months. When is it? A year?

Amy Goscha (6m 6s):
So a year I believe. Let's see. Cause there's various ones. So no later than a year someone has physical incapacity and essentially you could invalidate the marriage. You have no more than a year from the date of the marriage to prove that. So if you did not have physical, like if you were incapacitated, essentially

Ryan Kalamaya (6m 30s):
This episode is brought to you by our law firm, Kalamaya, Goscha, Amy And I describe our law firm as an innovative and ambitious trial team that pushes the boundaries to discover new frontiers in family law, personal injuries and criminal defense in Colorado. We currently have offices in Aspen, Glenwood Springs, Edwards, Denver, and Boulder. If you wanna find out more, visit our website Kalamaya dot law. Now back to the show Amy. So you are the in-house resident expert on this issue for invalidity within our firm. What happens if someone's already been married or they can't be remarried?

Ryan Kalamaya (7m 13s):
There's some sort of legal prohibited legal reason that they can't be married. Can you talk to me a little bit about that?

Amy Goscha (7m 20s):
Yeah, so you I mean whenever someone figures that out, it can be during the lifetime or up to even six months after the state is closed if someone dies. So how I started really dealing with these issues came even before we had like civil unions in Colorado. We were going through that period of time around 2008 and later where same sex marriages were valid in other states such as California for certain periods of time. And then people were moving and relocating to areas like Colorado. So I had to, I was pro, I think I'm the first lawyer in, in Colorado to ask a court, a district court to essentially grant a decree of dissolution of marriage or in the alternative we were asking for a declaration for invalidity of marriage.

Amy Goscha (8m 9s):
So that's how I started my work in this area. But it also comes up not just with same sex couples I've had recently, within the last probably four years, I had a case where I represented husband and wife, turned out to be I mean. There were a lot of things about her that were pretty fraudulent that husband wasn't aware of. And his question to me was, can I go in and ask for the court to invalidate this marriage? you know, I looked at doing that, I consulted with a few judges and found that, you know, I couldn't probably do that. I mean it's hard to invalidate a marriage. But a lot of clients when they come to us, they might be angry, you know, their spouse might have lied to them.

Amy Goscha (8m 52s):
I'll talk specifically about fraud. We have a case in Colorado where based off of fraud, the marriage was invalidated. And in Colorado we have a case from 2012 that talks about like, so if you invalidate the a marriage, you might still have kids, you might still have property issues that need to be parsed out. In this case, what the court of appeals said is that specifically if the fraud like goes to the essence of the marriage, it wasn't appropriate or fair because in Colorado it's all about, you know, courts of equity. It isn't fair to divide property that was essentially accumulated during the marriage that was invalidated.

Amy Goscha (9m 38s):
Just to divide that equally, essentially what the court could do is just allocate to the spouse that created the fraud. Just, you know, the property that they had accumulated, not what the innocent spouse had accumulated. Same thing with, it wasn't proper in that case to Award spousal maintenance to the spouse where fraud went to the essence of the marriage. We have no court of appeals case in Colorado that talks about how fraud that goes to the essence of the marriage affects awards in child support. And to me that makes sense because a p r is separate. you know, we've talked about common law marriage. If there's not a common law marriage, you still have, you know, the allocation of parental responsibility route to go.

Amy Goscha (10m 23s):
So to me that does make sense why there's not really an appellate decision in Colorado, you know, opining on how that would affect a child support order.

Ryan Kalamaya (10m 31s):
The examples that I kinda led with in terms of the celebrities and my understanding is that Kenny Chesney and Renee Zegar, they claimed fraud and there was a big to-do about, well what does this mean? And, you know, the, that 2012 case in Colorado, if my memory serves me correctly, I think it was immigration somewhat related where, and people hear about the sham marriage where people get married for immigration PURPOSES where one person might be a, a national from a different country and they want to get citizenship and so they'll make sure that they are still married. And that 2012 case, I think the woman, if I remembered, kind of induced the husband, marry her and, but it was just solely so that she could get citizenship and he called her out on it and the court said, listen, you're, you're not gonna benefit from spousal support, right, because you lied and you were fraudulent.

Ryan Kalamaya (11m 25s):
I think that that really is helpful for people to understand. The most common scenario that Annulment that at least I've heard is people, they just don't want to say, listen, this is my first or my second marriage or my third marriage, and it's kind of the moral or other. They just don't want to, they, they realize quickly that it was a mistake and they don't want to say that they were married. Often it's not driven by financials, but it often can be where there was such significant dishonesty or fraud or there might be a reason, you know, like estates you mentioned previously where, you know, an estate might claim, hey listen, you, you're from Utah or you, you're a polygamist and you've got like two other wives and you can't be married legally.

Ryan Kalamaya (12m 10s):
And there might be a reason for that. I mean there's a whole host. I don't want to necessarily call out polygamous or Mormons, but you know, that's the most common scenario, at least when, if you're looking at like a legal reason why you can't be married and seeking to invalidate.

Amy Goscha (12m 26s):
Yeah, and also my, you know, my experience, so, and it depends probably on the courts, but I've had people come to me saying like, by stipulation, can we seek an invalidity of marriage? But the court still has to make certain findings, you know, and so it's not just a slam dunk, we're just saying that who for marriage is gone just because we agree the court still has to make certain findings and it still has to apply the statute. But I think where I've seen it a lot, you know, not just under the standard provisions for like consummating the marriage or being underage I mean the most recent kind of activity we really had in Colorado on in validity of marriage was right before civil unions, right before Colorado recognized, you know, same sex marriage.

Amy Goscha (13m 12s):
We had a slew of cases that were getting filed for Invalidity of Marriage in Colorado.

Ryan Kalamaya (13m 19s):
To put a wrap on it, we'll end with Kim Kardashian. I'm serving as the token gossip here on this episode, but at least from what I've read, people.com can be trusted as a reliable news sources that Kim Kardashian, she originally filed for a Divorce after 72 days from the basketball player, Chris Humphreys, and he responded and said, I want to have an Annulment. And she was publicly stated, well that's what I wanted, but my lawyers told me that I couldn't get it. And so there's, they reached a, an agreement on Annulment.

Amy Goscha (13m 50s):
Yeah, so I mean it's out there, it's for everyone to be aware of, but there are certain requirements you can't just ask to under your marriage and for it to go away.

Ryan Kalamaya (13m 58s):
Well, Amy, there's times when we record these podcasts, And I want to just kind of a null or go back and rerecord and sometimes it's a little harder than others. And, we just kind of move on with our life. Obviously this podcast is a little bit different than a marriage, but I'm hopeful that Listeners learn something about Annulment. And until next time, this is Ryan Kalamaya and Amy Goscha for Divorce at Altitude. Hey Everyone, this is Ryan again. Thank you for joining us on Divorce at Altitude. If you found our tips, insight, or discussion helpful, please tell a friend about this podcast. For show notes, additional resources or links mentioned on today's episode, visit Divorce at Altitude dot com.

Ryan Kalamaya (14m 45s):
Follow us on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen in. Many of our episodes are also posted on YouTube. You can also find Amy and me at Kalamaya.law or 970-315-2365. That's K A L A M A Y A.law