Changing Your Name During or After Divorce (CO)

Many people take their spouse’s last name when they get married, but when they get divorced, some people want their previous names back. This process is called Name Change Restoration in Colorado. If you do not wish to change your name during or after your divorce, there is nothing you need to do. However, if you want to restore your previous name, this article will walk you through the steps you need to take to do so.

If Your Divorce Has Not Started

If you just started the divorce process, the best way to indicate that you want your former name restored is by making sure you check the box on your petition for divorce (JDF 1101) and provide your previous name. If you are responding to a petition for divorce (JDF 1103), you need to provide your previous name. 

If Your Divorce Is Finalized

If your divorce is already finalized and you did not indicate your desire to restore your name in your petition or your response forms, don’t worry because there is still a way for you to have your former name restored.

File JDF 1824 in the court where your decree for dissolution of marriage/civil union or legal separation was entered. This can be done at any time after the decree was entered in your case. Additionally, you need to file JDF 1825 along with it. You only need to fill out the caption box on JDF 1825, the court will fill out the rest of the form for you. If you encounter any difficulty with filling out these forms, Colorado Name Change offers a similar service to Hello Divorce, but with name change forms in Colorado.

Unlike other name changes in Colorado, there is no requirement for a background check or publication of your name change. Additionally, if you file within 60 days after the divorce decree has been signed, there is no filing fee. However, if you file after 60 days, there will be a filing fee of $105. If this filing fee is too much for your current financial situation, you can always fill out forms that will waive the filing fee. 

What to Do After Your Name Has Been Restored

After your name change is finalized, you need to notify the Social Security Administration (SSA), the DMV, and other organizations of your name restoration. Additionally, if you have a passport, you will need to change your name on that too. If you encounter any difficulties, Colorado Name Change can guide you through the different steps required, especially with creating a letter to notify other organizations of your name change.

How to Notify the SSA

Changing your name on your Social Security Card is FREE. To start, you will need to fill out the Application for a Social Security Card. Additionally, you will need to submit additional documents to prove your age, identity, citizenship, or immigration status.

In general, these are the following documents you need to submit with your application: 

  • To prove your age, you must provide your birth certificate 
  • To prove your identity, you can provide one of these three: your U.S. Driver’s License, U.S. State-issued non-driver identity card, or your U.S. Passport.
  • To prove your citizenship, you must provide your U.S. birth certificate or passport.
  • To prove your immigration status, you must provide a current unexpired document issued to you by the Department of Homeland Security showing your immigration status, such as: Form I-551, Form I-94, or Form I-766. 

For a complete list of other types of documents that are acceptable, we highly recommend you to check out Colorado Name Change’s blog on this process. 

How to Notify DMV 

Before changing your name with the DMV, your name change must be on file with the SSA. You are required to notify the Department of Revenue within 30 days of changing your name due to a divorce. It takes the SSA at least 24 business hours for changes to be processed. However, once that process happens, you can go to your local DMV and provide proof of address documents along with a certified divorce decree (JDF 1116) or certified court order of name change (JDF 1825).

How to Change Your Passport

For most people seeking to change your passport, you will need to use the DS-82 form. Along with this form, you will need to submit certified documentation that reflects your name change. However, you may need to use the DS-5504 form if you meet one of the three situations: (1) you changed your name less than one year since your passport was issued; (2) if your identifying information in your most recent passport was printed incorrectly; or (3) if your passport was limited to two years or less for a reason other than losing your passport multiple times or having a seriously damaged passport. The cost of either form will vary depending on whether you are renewing the passport book or the card. To complete this process, you can mail in your application with a check. 

How to Notify Other Organizations

These are some organizations that you may need to notify of your name change: banks and credit unions, colleges or universities, employers, and the United States Postal Service. This is not a complete list; if you have any accounts with other organizations, you need to notify them of your name change as well.

Banks and credit unions generally have the same process. Generally, you will need to show a copy of your driver’s license or state identification card and your divorce decree (JDF 1116) or final name restoration decree (JDF 1825). 

If you attended a college or university, you will need to update the Office of Registrar. These requirements differ, but generally, most colleges and universities will ask for proof of your name change and a copy of your identification.  

Most employers have a policy for updating their employees’ names. Usually, you will need to update your name with the SAA first before updating your name with your employer. 

The United States Postal Service does not have a name change form, but with their address change process, it allows you to change your name. There is a small fee if you process it online, however, if you print out the form and deliver it to your local post office, you can avoid paying the fee. If you opt for an online change, the best way to do it is with a credit card that has your changed name. If in-person, it is recommended you bring your divorce decree (JDF 1116) or final name restoration decree (JDF 1825).

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