Instructions For Filing Name Changes For Children
THIS IS A SUMMARY OF LAW ON HOW TO CHANGE THE NAME OF A CHILD. IF YOU HAVE MATTERS RELATING TO THIS OR OTHER LEGAL SUBJECTS, BUT ARE NOT AN ATTORNEY, WE ADVISE YOU TO CONSULT WITH ONE.
Use this procedure to change the name of a minor (a child under the age of 18):
1. Determine whether or not you need to change the child's name. If the mother was single at the time of the child's birth and is now married to the child's natural father, a name change through the court may not be necessary if the child was born in Colorado. Contact the Vital Statistics Department to find out how to establish paternity and change the child's name on the birth certificate without a formal court proceeding.
2. Obtain the proper forms from the Clerk of the Court at $2.00 each, or from a commercial printer. In the Metropolitan Denver you must determine which county you are in, because each has a separate courthouse and clerk's office. The City of Denver is actually "the City and County of Denver," and City Hall also serves as the courthouse. Other counties within easy commuting distance of Denver area installations are: Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Douglas, Elbert, El Paso, Jefferson, and Weld. In the areas around Lowry and Buckley there are some very unusual lines, because for many years The City and County of Denver was able to expand by annexing land in Adams, Arapahoe and Jefferson Counties. The end result is that there are some areas that are completely surrounded by Denver, which are actually in another county. Some of these areas are rural such as around the Airport, but some are quite urban, such as Glendale, which is part of Arapahoe County. The legislature has recently passed a law allowing the City of Bloomfield, which is partially in four different counties, to be like Denver, and be both city and county, so it might soon have its own courts as well. When you check on your address, do not rely on what the Postal Service lists, because it uses a regional system. For example, Highlands Ranch and Lone Tree are listed as Littleton, even though they are in Douglas County, while Littleton is the county seat for Arapahoe. Greenwood Village and Cherry Hills Village are listed by the postal service as Englewood, which is in Arapahoe County. The courthouse for Arapahoe County is in an unincorporated area with an Englewood mailing address, but it is about ten miles away from either Littleton or Englewood. Check your property tax papers, or ask your landlord, and then double-check on a map! Most of what remains of Lowry AFB is in Denver, while Buckley AFB is in Arapahoe County. The City of Aurora stretches through Adams, Arapahoe and Douglas Counties. The required Court forms are:
b. Birth Certificate
d Death Certificate for the other parent or parents, as required.
d. Public Notice
3. Fill out the forms completely for each child whose name is being changed. A Petition is just a request to the Court asking the Judge to do something, such as directing a legal change of a name, by signing the Order directing as much. You of course, will make things easier for the judge,
by providing a draft of the Order so that the judge need not much more than move his or her pen to make your desires become reality.
4. Obtain a certified copy of the child's birth certificate (this must be the official birth record, not the complimentary document provided by some hospitals). You can usually get this by contacting the county or city clerk for the place where the child was born, and then following whatever procedures that office directs you to follow.
5. Have the other parent of the child sign an Affidavit allowing the name change, if that parent is available. If that parent is unavailable, consult with an attorney on what to do to find the parent, or to get around this requirement. Generally, you must follow these rules:
- Send copies of the affidavit and petition to his or her last known address, mailed return receipt requested.
- If you cannot contact the other parent, then file with the court a motion and order to be signed by the judge granting publication of a notice to the other parent.
- If the court signs the order, then publish the notice one time in a local newspaper of general circulation.
6. If the child has a guardian or guardians instead of a parent or parents, go through the same procedure with the guardian(s).
7. If the other parent is deceased or if both parents are deceased, obtain a certified copy of the death certificate(s).
8. Return all of these papers to the Clerk's office and pay a filing fee of approximately $34.00
9. The Court will then set a hearing at which time the other parent may object to the name change with the court. If the other parent does not object, the judge may sign the name change Order and return the papers to the clerk of the court. The clerk will issue a Public Notice of the change to the pubic in a newspaper three (3) times within twenty (20) days of the date the Order is signed. You can make things easy for the clerk as well, by having the Public Notice ready to go. You must use certain wording and certain newspapers for the notice to be effective, and the effort is supposed to be an honest attempt to make sure that all who have an interest in the child, be they parents, creditors, or fellow gang members, are aware of the change. Work with the clerk.
10. You must file a "proof of publication" with the Court after publication. Ask the clerk what sort of proof they need - usually it is a copy of the newspaper in which the notice was published. Sometimes the clerk already has a copy so check with the clerk. When you do this, the clerk may then issue any number of certified copies of the name change order, which cost approximately $5.75 each. You can use these to show others (such as schools and daycare facilities) that the name change is final.