Colorado Name Changes
The information contained herein is meant to give general information to the public, it is not meant to provide specific legal advice. This is for educational purposes only. This handout and the hyperlinked packet is provided as-is with no warranty, express or implied, regarding the accuracy. It was accurate at the time of writing (18 Nov 2016), but statutes and regulations change and it is your responsibility to comply with them in order to properly change your name. If you have specific questions or concerns, please speak with a licensed attorney.
Use of this website does not, in itself, constitute an attorney-client relationship with The Colorado Name Change Project or any of the participating attorneys.
You can download the PPT presentation (updated Mar 2017) given in the workshop.
Name Change Packet
- Residency: You can only file a petition in the county court where you are a resident.
- Age: For the purposes of this petition, you must be 18 years of age or older. There is a separate process for minors located here (link to CO Courts forms for minors).
- Criminal Record: A felony conviction in any state can make legal name change more complicated. You may want to consult a licensed attorney.
Fingerprinting & Background Checks
You must submit a criminal history check from the Federal Bureau (FBI) and Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) at the time the petition is filed and must be dated within 90 days of the petition being filed. Here’s how to get those done:
- Contact your local law enforcement office* or FBI channeler to be fingerprinted. Be sure to inquire about the cost of finger printing and fingerprint cards. For a much faster process, go to Denver Fingerprinting or another FBI channeler near you. The cost is more, but you’ll get the results from the FBI in 24-48 hours rather than 12-15 weeks for the FBI’s internal process. Currently, CBI does not provide for electronic access so you’ll need to physically provide them with a fingerprint card, as explained below.
- You will see a box labeled “Reason Fingerprinted” on the card in the upper left hand corner. Make sure to complete that box with the following: “§13-15-101 Legal Name Change”
- If necessary, please write your name, home address, and date of birth clearly on the fingerprint card. If the agency completing the fingerprints uses an electronic print system, please do not write on the cards as the agency will automatically input the information.
If using the FBI and not a channeler, the FBI requires:
- Criminal History Application Form I-783
- Completed finger print card
- Payment (money order, certified check, or credit card). If paying by credit card, use Form I-786
- Instructions and information are located here. You can also contact FBI customer service at 304-625-5590.
- Mail the above items to the FBI at:
- CJIS Division, Attn: SCU, Mod. D-2
1000 Custer Hollow Road Clarksburg, WV 26306
The CBI requires:
- Completed fingerprint card
- Payment (money order, certified check, or credit card). If paying by credit card use, form found from the link below. You may also hand deliver and pay by cash.
Instructions, forms, and information are located here. You can also contact CBI customer service at 303-239-4208.
- Mail or hand-deliver the above items to the CBI at:
- Colorado Bureau of Investigation
690 Kipling Street, Suite 3000
Lakewood, CO 80215
- Colorado Bureau of Investigation
The Petition and Forms Required by Colorado for Name Change
- Packet instructions and blank forms are available in both PDF and MS Word formats on the Judicial Branch website here. However, We’ve taken the opportunity to complete them for you, but without your personal information. You can download the entire packet here, along with a Motion for Exemption from the Publication Requirement.
- You may complete the forms on your computer or fill them in by hand, printing legibly in black ink. We recommend using your computer.
- Do not sign these documents yet. You must sign the petition in front of the court clerk or a notary public.
- Original Petition
- Complete all sections on this form
- You will attach the fingerprint based FBI and CBI criminal history reports to the original petition and identify them as “Exhibit A.”
- Attach any other criminal disposition documentation and identify it as “Exhibit B.”
- Motion for Exemption of Publication for Name Change
- This motion is optional; however, it has worked in the past. It is ultimately up to the judge’s discretion to grant or deny this motion. If you need assistance with this motion, please contact a licensed attorney.
- By filing this motion, you have the potential of the judge waiving the requirement to publish your name change details in the newspaper. Not only will this increase your privacy but it will reduce the cost of changing your name (at writing, it cost $118 to post a legal notice for name change in the Denver Post and can range from $60-120 in other publications).
- You still must include the following forms: JDF 427 – Public Notice and JDF-426 – Order for Publication for Change of Name.
- Proposed Order for Exemption of Publication for Name Change
- This is the order that the judge will sign if he/she grants the motion. Complete only the section at the top.
- Instructions for the Order for Publication for Change of Name
- Complete all sections of this form.
- The judge or magistrate will sign the Order for Publication, if your petition is approved.
- Instructions for the Public Notice
- Complete all sections of this form.
- This is the form that you will submit to a local newspaper to publish notice of the requested name change.
- Proposed Final Decree
- Complete the section at the top ONLY. The judge/magistrate will check the boxes and sign the order.
Filing the Petition
- Each court may have slightly different procedures. Contact the county court in the county you reside in for specific days or times when name change hearings are scheduled.
- You may have your hearing on the same day that you file your case or a future hearing will be set. Additionally, some courts may not require a hearing and will issue an Order for the Motion and/or Order for Publication following a review of the petition and supporting documentation.
- The filing fee for the petition is $100.
- If you are unable to pay the filing fee, you may complete the Motion to File without Payment and Supporting Financial Affidavit (JDF 205) and submit it to the court. After you submit the completed form and a blank order, the court will decide whether you need to pay the filing fee.
- There may be additional fees/costs that apply.
- You will receive the Final Decree via mail once all the steps are completed and the judge approves your petition.
- Cost of Fingerprints: Amount varies and is payable to local law enforcement or the FBI channeler at the time fingerprints are taken. If you use an FBI channeler like Denver Fingerprinting, the cost of the FBI Criminal History Check is included in this fee. Denver Fingerprinting charged $85 for the FBI fingerprints and background check at the time of this writing and $5 for the CBI fingerprint card, if you do them at the same time. If you choose the cheaper but much longer route, the FBI Fingerprint-based Criminal History Check will cost about $40. Current wait time is 15 weeks for the FBI.
- CBI Fingerprint-based Criminal History Check: about $30
- Publication Fee: Amount varies and may be payable to the court or to the newspaper directly. Denver Post was $118 at the time of this writing. Others can run between $50-$120.
- Copies of Documents (Documents on File): $0.75 per page or $1.50 if double-sided
- Copies of Documents (Documents not on File): $0.25 per page or $0.50 if double-sided
- Certification Fee: $20 per certified copy
The timeline for granting your petition depends largely on the individual court and its docket. It can take as little as a week to a month or so.
Now that your name is updated, check out our guide on the next steps!