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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 include:
(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 petition.
(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 such checks.
(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, 2005.)
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 February 23.
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 (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).
(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.