With permission of his or her parents, a minor child may change his or her first, middle, and or last name legally.

As a parent or guardian, you may wish to legally change the name or your minor child for various reasons. Some of the most common reasons are;

  • Have a child’s name match the rest of the family’s name
  • Unify discrepancies in last names or spelling of names associated with a parent’s or child’s immigration
  • Change a child’s legal first name to a name that your child wishes to have

With Consent A Child’s Name Change Is Straightforward

If both parents consent to a legal name change, the process to change the name of a minor child is straightforward.  If only one parent consents and it is not known whether the noncustodial parent consents, the noncustodial will need to be notified of the name change.

The best practice is to find out if the noncustodial parent consents to a name change before filing anything as the other parent’s objection could throw a wrench in the name change process.  It’s possible to move forward with a minor child’s name change without the noncustodial parent’s consent as long as the noncustodial parent does not object.  If the noncustodial parent objects, the Court may deny the petition or schedule a contested hearing.

If the child to have his or her name changed is 14 years old or older, the child will need to have fingerprint-based FBI and CBI background checks taken; a couple of services offer appointments to take fingerprints in Colorado Springs for name changes and I can point you in the right direction.

If the child is younger than 14 years old, then no background check is necessary.

Information Needed To Change The Name Of A Minor Child

The petitioner, which is the person seeking to change the minor child’s name, will meet with me so that I can glean all the information I need to begin the minor child’s legal name change paperwork.  The petitioner may be either parent or a guardian with the parents’ consent.

Once the paperwork is prepared and filed, the Court may issue a hearing or order publication of the name change.

I will arrange for a Notice of Change of Name to be published in a local newspaper unless there are safety or privacy concerns that would make such publication inappropriate.

If you are seeking to legally change the name of a child to match a stepparent’s last name, there are many tangible benefits to the stepparent adopting the minor child and changing the child’s name through the adoption process.

Benefits to Stepparent Adoption

  • A stepparent adoption involves terminating a parent-child relationship with the noncustodial parent
  • legally solidifies the parent-child relationship with the child and stepparent; has child support
  • social security, veteran’s benefit implications
  • guarantees the stepparent’s rights to the child should something happen to the custodial parent
  • gives the stepparent unfettered access to the child’s school and medical records
  • and (most importantly) can mean the world to the child to be adopted!  Check out more information on stepparent adoption

If you are a guardian seeking to change a child’s legal name to match your own, consider custodial adoption as adoption may be more appropriate and more beneficial for the child.

Like a stepparent adoption, a custodial adoption may provide additional benefits to the child to be adopted!

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Mary Daugherty esq

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