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Colorado Name Change Law
13-15-101. Petition - proceedings.
(1) (a) (I) Every person desiring to change his or her 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, except as otherwise
provided in paragraph (a.5) of this subsection (1). The petition shall
(A) The petitioner's full name;
(B) The new name desired; and
(C) A concise statement of the reason for the name change.
(II) If the petitioner is over fourteen years of age, the petition shall
also include the results of a certified, fingerprint-based criminal
history record check conducted pursuant to paragraph (c) of this
subsection (1) within ninety days prior to the date of the filing of the
(III) If the petitioner is under nineteen years of age, the petition shall
also include the caption of any proceeding in which a court has ordered
child support, allocation of parental responsibilities, or parenting time
regarding the petitioner.
(a.5) If the petitioner is under nineteen years of age and is the subject
of an action concerning child support, allocation of parental
responsibilities, or parenting time, then the petition for name change
shall be filed in the court having jurisdiction over the action concerning
child support, allocation of parental responsibilities, or parenting time.
(b) The fingerprint-based criminal history check shall include arrests,
conviction records, any criminal dispositions reflected in the Colorado
bureau of investigation and federal bureau of investigation records, and
fingerprint processing by the federal bureau of investigation and the
Colorado bureau of investigation. The petitioner shall be responsible for
providing certified copies of any criminal dispositions that are not
reflected in the Colorado bureau of investigation or federal bureau of
investigation records and any other dispositions which are unknown.
(c) The petitioner shall be responsible for supplying fingerprints to the
Colorado bureau of investigation and to the federal bureau of
investigation and for obtaining the fingerprint-based criminal history
record checks. The petitioner shall also be responsible for the cost of
(1.5) Unless the petitioner has shown good cause why the publication
provisions of section 13-15-102 should not apply, the court shall order
the petitioner to publish notice as provided in section 13-15-102 and file
proof of the publication with the court.
(2) (a) Upon receipt of proof of publication or upon an order of the court
stating that publication is not required, the court, except as otherwise
provided in paragraphs (b) and (c) of this subsection (2), shall order the
name 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.
(b) The court shall not grant a petition for a name change if the court
finds the petitioner was previously convicted of a felony or adjudicated a
juvenile delinquent for an offense that would constitute a felony if
committed by an adult in this state or any other state or under federal
law. If the certified, fingerprint-based criminal history check filed with
the petition reflects a criminal charge for which there is no disposition
shown, the court may grant the name change after affirmation in open court
by the petitioner, or submission of a signed affidavit by the petitioner,
stating he or she has not been convicted of a felony in this state or any
other state or under federal law.
(c) (Deleted by amendment, L. 2005, p. 20, § 1, effective February 23,
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. L. 2002:
Entire section amended, p. 1141, § 1, effective June 3. L. 2004: (1)(a)
and (1)(c) amended, p. 75, § 2, effective September 1; (1)(a) and (2)
amended and (1.5) added, p. 119, § 1, effective September 1. L. 2005:
(1)(a) and (2)(c) amended and (1)(a.5) added, p. 20, § 1, effective
Editor's note: Amendments to subsection (1)(a) by House Bill 04-1052 and
House Bill 04-1195 were harmonized.
Am. Jur.2d. See 57 Am. Jur.2d, Name, § 19.
C.J.S. See 65 C.J.S., Names, §§ 21-28.
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
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).
(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.