In re marriage of Farr
228 P.3d 267 (Col. Ct. App. 2010)

Facts:

  • The parties’ thirty-year marriage ended in dissolution in 1999.
  • They remarried in 2004, and in 2007, husband filed for dissolution.
  • Wife cross-petitioned to declare the second marriage invalid, asserting that she agreed to marry him based upon his representation that he had a terminal illness.

History:
The trial court dismissed the petition for dissolution and declared the marriage invalid.

Issue:
Whether consent to marriage was obtained by misrepresentation that goes to the essence of the marriage.

Holding:
Yes. Affirmed. Annulment.
Note: Annulment basically means the marriage never existed.

Reasoning:

  • Wife’s testimony was more credible than husband’s;
  • Wife believed husband’s representation that his death was imminent;
  • Wife did not want husband to die alone;
  • Wife relied on husband’s representation that he was suffering from myelodysplastic syndrome in deciding to remarry him; and
  • That such representation was fraudulent.

“Because these findings are supported by the record, we reject husband’s contention that the court abused its discretion in invalidating the parties’ marriage.”

Rule: A court shall enter a decree declaring a marriage invalid if one party entered into the marriage in reliance on a fraudulent act or representation of the other party when the act or representation goes to the essence of the marriage.