Step one: visit the Denver County Court
(If you live in a county other than Denver, you will need to visit your county’s county court location)
As of this writing, the civil division of the DCC is located 1437 Bannock Street, Room 135. Their hours are short (currently 8 – 4), and you should call and confirm that they will be open. Their phone number is 720-865-7840. At the Denver County Court, they’ll provide you with a number of necessary documents and instructions, including the locations of fingerprinting facilities.
Step two: get fingerprinted
Denver name changes require that you send fingerprint cards to the FBI and CBI. To get fingerprinted, you will need to go to a particular facility. The names and locations of facilities will be provided when you visit the Denver County Court in step one. You may have more than one choice, but this one is open five days a week (8-4) and is, according to a reader comment below, the fastest option:
4999 Oakland Street
Denver, CO 80239
Most facilities charge $10 for the first fingerprint card and $5 for the second. You’ll need two for your name change. And many facilities only accept cash. (And just in case they up their prices, I’d suggest taking more than $15 cash.)
Step three: fill out your fingerprint card.
Once you have fingerprints on the card and have paid the appropriate fee, you’ll need to add some additional information to your card. This information includes your address, your employer’s name and address, your full current name, any aliases you operate under, your height, weight, birth date, eye color and hair color, and the reason for your request. Under the “Reason for Name Change,” make sure you include the code from your paperwork. You cannot simply write “name change.” The code should be located under “Steps to Filing your Case” on the second page of the document provided by the DCC.
Step four: mail both fingerprint cards immediately
Your fingerprint cards will expire after 90 days, so you’ll need to mail them right away to the CBI and FBI. Make sure you also include fees and additional information as requested by the CBI and FBI (check your DCC paperwork for the latest requirements).
The address for Denver’s CBI is: 690 Kipling, Denver, CO 80215. The address for the FBI is: Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Division, 1000 Custer Hollow Road, Clarksburg, WV 26306. Please check your information packet (from the county court) for any attn or change in address.
For the FBI, you’ll need to include an application and $18 money order or certified check. You can find the application at http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/background-checks/background_checks. For the CBI, you’ll need to include a money order for $16.50.
Include a self-addressed stamped envelope with each submission.
Step five: fill out your court forms
There are four forms you’ll need to complete: JDF 426, 427, 433 and 448. These forms should be included in your packet from the county, but are also available at the county website at http://www.courts.state.co.us/Forms/Forms_List.cfm/Form_Type_ID/25.
Form 433 Petition for name change (adult) requires that you sign and date at the bottom in the presence of a deputy clerk/notary republic. Do not sign and date sooner or you’ll have to fill out the form all over again later.
Step six: return to court to file the paperwork
Once you have sent your fingerprint cards, you will receive a letter from the FBI and another from the CBI. Both should state your lack of convictions, which will allow you to petition for the name change. Once you have both letters, take your completed paperwork, both letters and your checkbook to the Denver County Courthouse (the same location where you obtained your paperwork in step 1).
Currently, they address name change cases between 1 and 2 p.m. Monday through Friday, but you should call to confirm before you go. You do not currently need an appointment. [According to a reader note, below, they have been rather busy, so you should check and make sure it's okay to just show up.]
Step seven: turn in your paperwork at the front desk…
The clerks will fill out any additional fields and stamp your paperwork appropriately. They can also help you identify if there are any further fields you need to fill out (if you’ve missed anything). They’ll need the FBI and CBI letters, as well as the four forms.
Step eight: pay the court fee
As of this writing, fees total $160. Once the clerk has verified your paperwork, he or she will send you to the payment desk where you can pay the court fee by check.
[UPDATE: According to a reader below, the court fees have dropped to $122 and they now accept cash, credit cards, and checks! Double check this when you go in the first time to make sure they aren't changing policies again.]
Step nine: appear before the judge
Once you have paid your fee, they will send you to a courtroom, where you will turn in your paperwork to another clerk and then await the judge. The judge, once he or she is ready for you, will swear you in and ask you some basic questions such as “why do you want to change your name?” and “what is your current legal name?” and “what do you want your legal name to be?”
After asking you these questions, the judge will determine whether he or she approves the name change (shouldn’t be a problem unless you are trying to perjure someone or have a criminal record) and then order for the change’s publication in a local paper. If you need to publish your name change in the paper, you’ll need to take an order for publication to the local paper. Make sure you have this form before you leave.
Step ten: publish your name change
Before you can get the final paperwork from the court, you’ll be ordered to publish your name change in a local newspaper for three consecutive editions. The court will provide a list of acceptable papers with their addresses. The easiest one is probably The Denver Post, which is (as of this writing) located downtown at 101 W. Colfax Ave.
To publish your name change in the paper, you will need the form (which the court will give you) ordering the publication. This form should be stamped or sealed by the court.
Currently, publishing a name change in the Denver Post for three consecutive editions costs $91. You can pay by credit card.
NOTE: Make sure to ask the Post (or other paper you publish your change in) to send you the confirmation of publication. If they send it directly to the court, it may get lost in the large amount of paperwork coming through the court each day.
Step eleven: once you have published your name change in the local paper…
That paper will send you an official confirmation of that publication. Take this confirmation and return to the Denver County Court, where they will give you the final official paperwork confirming your change of name.
You’ve changed your name in Denver. Now you can take the confirmation paperwork, make a bunch of copies (for records at your bank, workplaces, etc.) and make a change. Don’t forget to change the name on your driver’s license, social security card, passport, bank accounts, employer databases, etc.
* Please note that this blog entry is not intended as legal advice and if you have legal questions concerning you name change or any other court matter, you should contact a lawyer. This was written as a general set of guidelines to help you along the process and help you know what to expect. The information reflects my own personal experience with this process and may not be the exact experience of any other person. All information is subject to change and should be confirmed.
I also but together some after-the-initial-change instructions. You can find this blog content and that new content in an e-book if you want. Buy the e-book here.
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