You can change your child's last name in Colorado as long as the court finds that the change benefits the child and won't cause her any harm. Changing a child's last name is used in adoption cases or to reflect a new family unit created by the addition of an involved stepparent. You can't change the name of a child who is over the age of 13 and was found to have committed a crime that would have been a felony offense for an adult.
Visit the official website of the Colorado Courts. Download and print the following forms: Petition for Change of Name of Minor Child (JDF 421), Consent of Noncustodial Parent (Form JDF 423), Order for Publication of Change of Name (JDF 426), Public Notice of Petition for Change of Name (JDF 427), and Final Decree for Change of Name (JDF 448).
Complete the petition, Form JDF 421. You need the child's full name, birth date, her proposed name, age and current address. Insert the reason for changing her name and the case number and court location of any child support or family court cases currently involving her, such as a custody dispute. Sign in front of a notary and have the signature notarized.
Take the consent form, JDF 423, to the noncustodial parent. Ask her to complete the form. She must fill in her name in the label spots and sign and date the form in front of a notary; the signature must be notarized.
Fill out the sections not marked "Court Use Only" on JDF-426, the order for publication. Review the boxes on the form and check off those that apply to your case. Fill in the child's current and proposed name in the label spots. Do not sign or date the order; the judge will do so.
Complete the public notice form, JDF 427. You need the child's current and proposed names.
Complete parts of the decree, Form JDF 448, not labeled "For Court Use Only." Do not sign or date the form. .
File all forms in the county court where the child lives if the child is not the subject of any child support or family court actions. Pay the required fee. Attend the hearing. Unless there is an objection, the judge will order publication of the name change. If the child is the subject of any child support or parenting time actions, file the forms and follow the same procedure in the Colorado district court that is handling the action.
Take the filed copy of the public notice, JDF 427, given to you by the clerk to a local newspaper. You must run the notice at least three times over the next 21 days. After the notice runs, ask the newspaper for an affidavit of publication and copies of the notices it ran.
File the affidavit of publication and the attached proof in the Colorado court you filed the forms in. Once the affidavit and proof is filed, the name change decree is issued by the court.
Tips & Warnings
- If you're changing the name of a minor over the age of 13, you must take the child to the local police or sheriff's department to be fingerprinted. You must order order a criminal records search from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation; both the FBI and the CBI will issue you a report. Both reports must be attached to Form JDF 421 before filing.
- If you can't get the consent of the noncustodial parent, you must complete Form JDF 422, Notice to Noncustodial Parent, make a copy of the form, and send the original form to the parent by certified mail, return receipt. Both the form copy and the receipt must be filed with the court at least 10 days before the name change hearing.
References & Resources
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