Colorado Legal Name Change
Below are the relevant state statutes, as well as links to the form petitions and instructions for obtaining a legal name change for yourself or a minor.
If, after reviewing the information below, you find the need for further legal assistance, you should visit this online legal service.
If you are seeking a marriage name change or a divorce name change, your marriage license or divorce decree can serve as your legal name change document. Thus you can proceed to Name Change Notification, the final step of the name change process. Otherwise, read the information below and follow the links to learn about obtaining a legal name change.
Colorado State Code:
TITLE 13 – COURTS AND COURT PROCEDURE – ARTICLE 15 – Change of Name
Sec. 13-15-101 – Petition – proceedings. Every person desiring to change his name may present a petition to that effect, verified by affidavit, to the district or county court in the county of the petitioner’s residence. The petition shall set forth the petitioner’s full name, the new name desired, and a concise statement of the reason for such desired change. The court shall order such change to be made and spread upon the records of the court in proper form if the court is satisfied that the desired change would be proper and not detrimental to the interests of any other person.
Source: G.L. § 1850. G.S. § 2452. R.S. 08: § 4348. C.L. § 6484. CSA: C. 30, § 1. CRS 53: § 19-1-1. C.R.S. 1963: § 20-1-1. L. 65: p. 425, § 1. L. 87: Entire section amended, p. 1576, § 15, effective July 10.
Am. Jur.2d. See 57 Am. Jur.2d, Name, § 18.
C.J.S. See 65 C.J.S., Names, § 11 (1), § 11 (2).
At common law a person could adopt another name at will. In re Knight, 36 Colo. App. 187, 537 P.2d 1085 (1975).
Statutes setting forth procedures to be followed in changing a name merely provide an additional method beyond the common law for making the change. In re Knight, 36 Colo. App. 187, 537 P.2d 1085 (1975); In re Nguyen, 684 P.2d 258 (Colo. App. 1983), cert. denied, 469 U.S. 1108, 105 S. Ct. 785, 83 L. Ed.2d 779 (1985).
Trial court has the power, founded in common law, to order a change of name of a minor child in a dissolution of marriage action but court should consider those factors applicable to a statutory name change in determining whether to grant a parent’s request. In re Nguyen, 684 P.2d 258 (Colo. App. 1983), cert. denied, 469 U.S. 1108, 105 S. Ct. 785, 83 L. Ed.2d 779 (1985).
Statutory change encouraged. It is more advantageous to the state to have a statutory method of changing names followed, and for that reason applications under the statute should be encouraged, and generally should be granted unless made for a wrongful or fraudulent purpose. In re Knight, 36 Colo. App. 187, 537 P.2d 1085 (1975).
Basis for denial. While a court has wide discretion in matters of a name change, it should not deny the application for a change of name as being improper unless special circumstances or facts are found to exist. Included in these would be unworthy motive, the possibility of fraud on the public, the choice of a name that is bizarre, unduly lengthy, ridiculous, or offensive to common decency and good taste, or if the interests of a wife or child of the applicant would be adversely affected thereby. In re Knight, 36 Colo. App. 187, 537 P.2d 1085 (1975).
Hearing prior to denial. Before a court denies a request for a change of name under the statute, it should conduct an evidentiary hearing to determine if good and sufficient cause exists to deny the application. In re Knight, 36 Colo. App. 187, 537 P.2d 1085 (1975).
When a child was given the noncustodial parent’s surname prior to the dissolution of the parent’s marriage, the noncustodial parent has a continuing interest in the minor child’s use of that surname. Hamman v. County Court, 753 P.2d 743 (Colo. 1988).
But, the noncustodial parent does not necessarily have the power to prevent a name change merely by making known his objections. Hamman v. County Court, 753 P.2d 743 (Colo. 1988).
Notice requirement. Noncustodial parent, as an interested party, is entitled to reasonable notice of the filing of a petition requesting name change by the custodial parent. Hamman v. County Court, 753 P.2d 743 (Colo. 1988).
Such notice should be reasonably calculated to notify the noncustodial parent of the pending action in a time and manner which allows participation in the proceeding if the noncustodial parent wishes. Hamman v. County Court, 753 P.2d 743 (Colo. 1988).
Sec. 13-15-102 – Publication of change.
(1) Public notice of such change of name shall be given at least three times in a newspaper published in the county where such person is residing within twenty days after the order of the court is made, and, if no newspaper is published in that county, such notice shall be published in a newspaper in such county as the court directs.
(2) Public notice of such name change through publication as required in subsection (1) of this section shall not be required if the petitioner has been:
(a) The victim of a crime, the underlying factual basis of which has been found by the court on the record to include an act of domestic violence, as defined in section 18-6-800.3 (1), C.R.S.;
(b) The victim of child abuse, as defined in section 18-6-401, C.R.S.; or
(c) The victim of domestic abuse as that term is defined in section 14-4-101 (2), C.R.S.
Source: G.L. § 1851. G.S. § 2453. R.S. 08: § 4349. C.L. § 6485. CSA: C. 30, § 2. CRS 53: § 19-1-2. C.R.S. 1963: § 20-1-2. L. 99: Entire section amended, p. 1178, § 4, effective June 2. Cross references: For the number of publications required, see § 24-70-106.
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