After a divorce in Colorado, you want to begin a new life. You may have changed your last name after the divorce as a way to separate yourself from the marriage and start all over again as your own person. This is common, especially if the marriage was not a good one. If you have a child, you may wonder if you can change his or her last name, too.
Having the same last name as your child can make things easier when it comes to school and other activities. Plus, it can help with the healing process if your ex-husband was abusive. However, changing a child’s last name is a serious thing. You are changing his or her identity, and there are legal considerations to make, as well.
Steps in the process
The Colorado Judicial Branch explains that to initiate a name change, you will have to go back to the court that handles your child support and custody case. You also need your ex-husband’s consent and cooperation. He will have to complete paperwork and be present at the final trial.
You also need to have your child go through a criminal history record check if he or she is age 14 or older. This will require fingerprinting. The purpose is that the court will not allow a name change if your child has a juvenile conviction for a crime that would be a felony at the adult level. You must complete this background check no longer than 90 days before you file the name change petition.
There are many things to consider when changing your child’s last name. Typically, this is something that you would only do if your child has no relationship with his or her father. If your child is old enough, you should also ask if it is what he or she wants. While it may just be a name to you, it could be of more importance to your child.