Many people take their spouse’s last name when they get married. But when they get divorced, some people want their previous name back. In Colorado, this process is called name change restoration.
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 required steps.
What to do if you’re at the beginning of divorce
If you’ve just started the divorce process, the best way to indicate your desire to restore your name is to 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.
What to do if your divorce has been finalized
If your divorce has already been finalized and you did not indicate your desire to restore your name on your petition or response forms, not to worry. There is still a way to restore your former name.
File JDF 1824 in the court where your decree for dissolution of marriage/civil union or legal separation was entered. You can do this any time after the decree was entered in your case.
Additionally, you must file JDF 1825. You only need to fill out the caption box on JDF 1825; the court will fill out the rest of the form for you.
Unlike other name changes in Colorado, no background check or publication of the name change is required. If you file within 60 days after the divorce decree has been signed, you pay no filing fee. However, if you file after 60 days, you must pay a filing fee of $105.
If the 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, notify the Social Security Administration (SSA), the DMV, and other pertinent organizations. If you have a passport, you must change your name on that, too.
Should difficulties arise, or if you need help creating a notification letter, Colorado Name Change can guide you through the required steps.
How to notify the SSA
Changing your name on your Social Security card is free.
To start, fill out the Application for a Social Security Card. Submit additional documents to prove your age, identity, citizenship, or immigration status.
In general, these are the following documents to submit with your application:
- A birth certificate to prove your age
- One of the following to prove your identity: U.S. Driver’s License, U.S. state-issued non-driver identity card, or U.S. passport
- Your U.S. birth certificate or passport to prove your citizenship
- 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
How to notify the DMV
Before changing your name with the DMV, you must file it 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 to process changes. Once processed, visit your local DMV with 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
Most people seeking to change a passport should use the DS-82 form.
Along with this form, submit certified documentation reflecting your name change.
Note that you may need to use the DS-5504 form if one of these situations applies:
- You changed your name less than one year since your passport was issued.
- Identifying information was printed incorrectly on your most recent passport.
- 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 varies depending on whether you are renewing the passport book or card. To complete this process, you can mail in your application with a check.
How to notify other organizations
Other organizations you must notify of a name change include banks and credit unions, colleges or universities, employers, and the United States Postal Service. This is not a complete list. Accounts with other organizations may need to be updated as well.
Banks and credit unions
Colleges and universities
If you attended a college or university, inform the registrar’s office of your name change. Requirements differ from school to school, but most ask for proof of the change and a copy of your ID.
Most employers have a policy for updating employee names. You will likely need to update your name with the SAA before updating it with your employer.
The United States Postal Service does not have a name change form. With their address change process, however, you can change your name.
You must pay a small fee to process the change online. To avoid paying the fee, print out the form and hand-deliver it to your local post office.
If you opt for an online change, we suggest using a credit card with your changed name. If you opt to make the change in person, bring your divorce decree (JDF 1116) or final name restoration decree (JDF 1825) to the post office with you.