Everything You Need to Know About a Name Change in Colorado

Here's how to make it official in CO with your SO.
Emily Platt - The Knot Senior Manager, Commerce Content Strategy
by
Emily Platt
Emily Platt - The Knot Senior Manager, Commerce Content Strategy
Emily Platt
Senior Manager, Commerce Content Strategy
  • Emily is a strategist and editor who specializes in shopping content
  • Before joining The Knot Worldwide, Emily wrote for Martha Stewart Weddings
  • Emily has a bachelor's degree from Vassar College
Updated May 26, 2020
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We know you can't wait to take a new name postwedding, but we also know that legal matters can get pretty complicated. Confused about tackling a name change in Colorado after marriage? You've come to the right place. We're walking you through the state's process step by step so you can spend less time worrying about newlywed to-dos and more time planning your awesome CO nuptials.

But before we get into the nitty gritty, we want to flag a total timesaver for those already dreading the process described ahead: HitchSwitch. Fill out a single (!) form and the service will handle researching and preparing the rest of the necessary paperwork for you. (And as you'll soon see, that's a ton of paperwork.) While there's a fee to use HitchSwitch (packages start at $39), its experts are well-versed in all the legal logistics, including state-specific protocol. So if you'd rather not sift through the information ahead, they'll take it off your plate. If you do choose to work with HitchSwitch, we recommend signing up ASAP (read: well before the big day). That way, its team can help you determine the most seamless course of action—which, FYI, starts with applying for your marriage license correctly.

Want to give it a go on your own? Keep reading for how to change your name in Colorado. We've listed out the four main steps: obtaining a legal name change document (a certified marriage license or court order), updating your Social Security card, updating your passport (even if you aren't traveling internationally) and updating your CO driver's license.

Note: For the most up-to-date information, always double check the appropriate offices' websites.

Getting a Colorado Marriage License

First things first: You must apply for your marriage license to legally wed—and for a legal name change in Colorado. If you're getting married in CO, visit your local county clerk's office with your partner to sign the document together—find more information below. If you're tying the knot away from home, look up the requirements in that state instead.

What documents do you need?

Show up with a valid form of ID (a birth certificate or current driver's license works). You don't need documentation of residency or any sort of health test for a Colorado marriage license. You may, however, need documentation of your divorce or former spouse's death if you've been married before—call ahead for the specifics.

How much does it cost?

The Colorado marriage license fee is $30. Later on, you'll likely have to pay for certified copies of the document too.

Important things to remember:

There's no waiting period for a Colorado marriage license, but it's valid for just 30 days (and only in the state).

Changing your name in Colorado? You'll have to complete your marriage license application in a specific way for it to count as a legal name change document. According to Jake Wolff, the founder of HitchSwitch, you can swap your last name and/or your middle name postwedding using your license. But that's only if you declare your desired new moniker on the application. If you don't list it then, you'll have to petition the court for a CO name change after marriage.

For more details about getting a marriage license in CO, pick up a copy of the Colorado edition of our regional The Knot magazine.

Colorado Name Change Petition

Can't use your marriage certificate for a legal name change in Colorado? Unfortunately, you'll have to fill out a name change petition instead. Visit the Colorado Judicial Branch website for instructions. This is also required if you want to change your first name for any reason. The process will eventually result in a court order approving your legal name change, which you can then use to complete the steps below. Expect the whole thing to cost extra time and money.

Social Security Name Change in Colorado

Even if your Colorado marriage license has your married surname (or new middle name) on it, your title doesn't automatically change postwedding. You'll have to update your information with a handful of entities, starting with the Social Security Administration.

Changing your name on your Social Security card isn't actually state-specific—it's a nationally standardized process. But it's a mandatory step before tackling Colorado-specific updates, like getting a new driver's license.

What documents do you need?

Print Form SS-5 (the Application for a Social Security Card) then complete it following the instructions listed on it. Mail or bring it to your local SSA office, which you can find on the SSA's website. You'll also need:

  • Your legal name change document (like your Colorado marriage certificate)
  • Proof of identity (for example, your current driver's license)
  • Proof of citizenship (for example, your birth certificate)

For more information, see the SSA's name change guide.

How much does it cost?

The actual SSA name change is free—woot woot—but you may still pay for postage materials. Know that HitchSwitch's $69 package includes prepaid mailing envelopes though, which could save you money.

Important things to remember:

The SSA (and most institutions, for that matter) only accept original or certified copies of the documents they require. (Photocopies and notarized copies don't qualify.) We recommend swallowing the certification fees in order to keep the originals safely in your possession.

Expect your updated card to arrive a week or two after submitting your materials. Your Social Security number won't change, so don't stress about memorizing a new one.

Passport Name Change in Colorado

This step isn't actually state-specific either—it's the same whether you're changing your name in Colorado or Connecticut. But it's important nonetheless, regardless of whether or not you're honeymooning abroad. That's because an updated passport serves as extra security when you get to the DMV. If there's any question about your marriage license or court order (it happens), it's backup you'll appreciate having. (You'll be spending enough time in line there already… don't make your visit any longer!)

What documents do you need?

It depends on your situation, but you'll be choosing from these three:

Form DS-5504

The passport correction form works if you've changed your name within a year of your current passport being issued.

Mail it in (the appropriate address is listed on the form) with:

  • A certified copy of your marriage license or court order
  • Your existing passport
  • A color passport photo (which HitchSwitch provides if you get the $99 package)

Form DS-82

The Passport Renewal Application is for you if:

  • You have a passport currently
  • It isn't damaged (aside from run-of-the-mill wear and tear)
  • It was issued when you were 16 or older
  • It was issued within the last 15 years
  • You have a legal name change document

Mail the document in (following the form's instructions) with:

  • A certified copy of your name change document
  • Your most recent passport
  • A passport photo

Form DS-11

Don't meet the requirements above? Not a problem; just complete the standard Application for a US Passport. To do so, apply in person at a Passport Acceptance Facility with the following:

  • The DS-11 form
  • Proof of citizenship (like a certified copy of your birth certificate) and a photocopy of said proof
  • Proof of identity (like your current driver's license) and a photocopy of said proof
  • A passport photo

How much does it cost?

Form DS-5504: Nothing—score!

Form DS-82: $30 for a passport card, $110 for a passport book or $140 for both.

Form DS-11: $30 for a passport card, $110 for a passport book or $140 for both, plus a $35 execution fee no matter what.

Expedited service: Want your updated passport in two to three weeks instead of four to six? That'll cost an extra $60.

Important things to remember:

The US Department of State website has more information about passport name changes.

Driver's License Name Change in Colorado

Changing your name in Colorado involves notifying the state via the Department of Revenue Motor Vehicles division. You'll have to renew your license or state ID at your local office.

What documents do you need?

Visit the DMV equipped with:

How much does it cost?

A renewed driver's license costs $28. For other fees, visit the Department of Revenue's website.

Important things to remember:

More detailed CO DMV name change instructions can be found on the Department of Revenue's website. Note that you only have 30 days to notify the institution of your new moniker. While you're at the DMV, ask about updating your car's title and registration too, if applicable.

Miscellaneous Colorado Name Change Tasks

Once you've dealt with the big fish, it's time to tackle the smaller things. Share your new name with anyone who needs it, including (but definitely not limited to):

  • Your insurance and health care providers
  • Financial institutions like banks and credit card issuers
  • Your employer
  • Your social media followers!

Really, the specifics depend on your situation. Are you registered for TSA precheck, airline reward programs or for anything else (like to vote)? Get that information updated. Do you own a home? Update the deed/title. HitchSwitch can help you put together the most comprehensive list.

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