Changing your name after a divorce or name change in Colorado involves several steps to ensure a smooth transition. Here's a detailed breakdown of the process:
- Obtain a certified copy of your Decree of Dissolution of Marriage or Final Decree of Name Change (both called a "decree” in this article): The divorce decree or decree of name change is the legal proof of your name change and is required for most of the subsequent steps below (Social Security requires an original certified copy). A certified copy has an original, usually color signature, stamp, or raised seal from the court – photocopies are not accepted by Social Security).You can obtain a certified copy of your divorce decree or decree of name change from the clerk's window at the Colorado county court house that granted your divorce or name change (a certified copy costs $24.00 and you probably want 2 as some may scan it and return it and some may keep it). If you are not near the court, you can order it on-line on the court's website.
- Update Social Security Records: The SSA will update your records, which is the necessary first step for updating many other documents. Fill out the Application for a Social Security Card (Form SS-5) (PDF) and bring it to a local social security office (find you local office at: https://secure.ssa.gov/ICON/main.jsp) along with unexpired driver's license or passport and the original certified decree.
- Update Driver's License or State ID: Visit your local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) office to change your name on your driver's license or state ID. You'll typically need your decree, new Social Security card, current ID, and possibly proof of residency.
- Update Passport: If you have a passport, apply for a name change on it. This may require you to fill out an application, submit your divorce decree, a passport photo, and the appropriate fee. The State Department will issue you a new passport with your updated name.
- Update Other ID: Consider updating other ID, such as voter registration card, professional licenses, and any ID cards related to memberships or affiliations.
- Notify Financial Institutions: Inform your bank, credit card companies, and other financial institutions of your name change. They may require a copy of your decree and updated ID.
- Update Employment Records: Notify your employer's human resources department of your name change. They will update your records, including your email signature and other relevant documents.
- Update Medical Records: Notify your healthcare providers of your name change. This includes doctors, dentists, and any other medical professionals you regularly visit.
- Update Legal Documents: Update your will, trust, power of attorney, and any other legal documents that contain your old name.
- Notify Government Agencies: Update your name with relevant government agencies, such as the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the United States Postal Service (USPS).
- Notify Other Entities: Inform any other entities where you have accounts or memberships, such as utility companies, insurance providers, and subscription services.
- Update Online Profiles: Update your name on social media profiles, email accounts, and any other online platforms you use.
- Consider Legal Name Change (if applicable): If you're choosing a completely new name that wasn't your maiden name or a previous surname, consult with a legal professional to determine if a formal name change through the court is necessary.
- Update Personal Contacts: Inform friends, family, and other personal contacts about your name change, so they are aware of the change and can address you correctly.
Remember that the exact steps and requirements may vary based on your location and jurisdiction. Always keep copies of important documents and maintain clear communication with the relevant authorities and institutions throughout the process.