Have you recently married the man of your dreams? Are you recently divorced? Perhaps you never enjoyed your first name, and you’ve decided it’s time for a legal name change.
Whatever your reasons for a name change, it’s critical to follow the legal process in Colorado. You can request that people to call you a preferred name, but without a legal name change, your official identifications and documents will reflect your current legal name.
It’s not a complicated process but does require attention to detail and some work. Keep reading to learn how to change your name in Colorado.
Your New Married Name
You can keep your current name after marriage. However, if you would like to change your name after getting married, the process is not too complicated. To start the process you will need to apply for your marriage license.
- List your preferred new name on your marriage license application. You’ll apply for your marriage license using your current name. However, to complete your legal name change using your husband’s last name, make sure you also put your new name on the license application.
- After the ceremony, your officiant signs the marriage certificate. In Colorado, the marriage license and the marriage certificate are part of the same document. Make sure you have this document with you at your wedding ceremony. The officiant signature confirms that the ceremony took place, and you have a legal marriage following the ceremony.
- No ceremony? No problem. The state of Colorado legally recognizes “self-solemnized” weddings. If you choose a less traditional route to affirm your marriage, you can “self-solemnize” your marriage certificate. You still need the marriage license. Instead of an officiant signature, both you and your new spouse sign the certificate with the word “self-solemnized” written on the document.
- File the marriage certificate. Within 63 days of the officiant or self-solemnized signature, return your marriage license and certificate document to the county clerk’s office. You can drop it off in person or send it by mail.
It is a good idea to get a few certified copies of your marriage certificate since you will need these copies when filing for name changes on official documents, like your social security number, driver’s license, and financial accounts.
If you forgot to list your new name on your marriage license application, or you didn’t know if you wanted to change it, then that’s okay! You’ll have to file a petition for a name change with the court. Keep reading to learn more about that process.
Be sure you pay attention to the deadlines for the sequence of events required to marry legally in Colorado.
- You have 35 days to solemnize your marriage after receiving your marriage license.
- Don’t miss the 63 days after your solemnization to file your marriage certificate.
If you miss these deadlines, you’ll have to re-apply for a marriage license or refile your certificate. You’ll also pay additional fees to refile or incur late charges.
After you’ve filed your marriage certificate, start the name change process with your social security card. You might need a current social security card with your new married name to change your name with the Colorado DMV and your bank accounts.
After a Divorce
If you’ve filed for divorce, you might prefer to go back to your maiden name. The simplest way to make your maiden name your legal name again is to file the request as part of your regular divorce proceedings. In most cases, the court grants this request without an additional petition.
To legally change your name after the finalization of your divorce, you’ll need to file a petition for a name change with the courts. It’s not a difficult process, but be sure you follow the steps:
- Fill out the petition form and file it with the court.
- Verify the petition by affidavit.
- Provide the reasons for your name change.
- Submit a criminal history check to the court and disclose any additional criminal history. You’ll need to cover the cost for this.
- Publish a notice of your petition in a local newspaper three times.
- File proof of these publications with the court.
- Attend a court hearing to allow the court to consider your petition.
To avoid the steps above, remember to request your name change during your divorce filing.
When the Court Rejects a Name Change
As much as you might want to change your name to something silly or memorable, the court has rules about legal name changes. They can deny your name change for a variety of reasons.
- If they suspect fraud or an attempt at deception
- You have a felony conviction in your criminal history
- You choose an obscene or offensive name
- You aren’t 18 years of age
- You’re trying to avoid criminal or civil liability
- You have significant financial debt
Before you start the process of a legal name change, be aware of the reasons the court could reject your preferred new name.
Get Help Knowing How to Change Your Name in Colorado
Knowing how to change your name in Colorado isn’t difficult, but it can be a tedious, time-consuming hassle. From the Social Security Administration to your bank and your passport, each institution can require different documents or processes to confirm your name change.
You don’t have to do all of this yourself! Whether your new name brings you joy or it’s a necessity after divorce, many people choose to use a name change service like UpdateMyName.com. This kind of service helps you make a list of every place that requires an update for your new name. They’ll collect your information, provide the right forms, and file everything on your behalf.
Whether you file on your own or with the help of a name change service, we hope your new name is a wonderful fresh start for you!