As my last post talked about the reasons and considerations and process women face when changing their last names post divorce, this latest post is about changing the last names of children post divorce.
When does it make sense to change a child’s name and how do courts in Colorado approach these requests? What might be the long term repercussions of changing a child’s last name?
Instances where a last name change might be appropriate:
This is another instance where a court must be involved. The Court has the ability to change a child’s name pursuant to the divorce or an allocation of parental responsibilities case. Although there is no specific law giving the Court the power to change a child’s name in a divorce or allocation of parental responsibilities case, the Appellate Court has ruled that “The trial court has the power, founded in the common law, to order a change of name of a minor child…” In re Marriage of Nguyen, 684 P.2d 258 (Colo. App. 1983).
Another way to obtain a name change for your child would be to file a Petition for a Name Change pursuant to §13-15-101, C.R.S.
After the Petition is filed, a hearing will be set for the Court to determine if the name change is in the best interests of the minor child. A court has wide discretion in ordering a change of name and should not deny an application unless special circumstances were found to exist. Hammon v. County of Jefferson, 753 P.2d 743 (Colo. 1988).
The Court can consider a number of factors to determine if a name change is in the best interests of a minor child as follows:
If you are a parent and have gone through a divorce, what are your thoughts about changing your child’s last name? Can you think of additional factors or considerations not listed above?