Guardianship for Minors & Legal Name Changes
Guardianship for Minors
Guardianship for minors is a way to ensure that the minor child has a legal guardian who is responsible for the health, safety, and well-being of the minor at issue. These cases can be brought by the minor, or by an interested and/or related party seeking to become the minor's guardian either temporarily or permanently.
- Temporary Guardianship - this may be appropriate in situations in which the legal parents of a minor child are going to be unavailable or incarcerated. Temporary Guardianship ensures that there is a party legally responsible for ensuring the safety and well-being of the child. This includes things such as ensuring the child attends school, that someone is legally authorized to sign for medical care, both routine and emergency, and that there is a party legally responsible for meeting the child's basic needs. While this may seem unnecessary, this simple action ensures that a child does not become a ward of the state, become placed in foster care, or that parental rights of the parents are not terminated in the involuntary absence of one or both parents, or their inability to exercise their parental rights.
- Permanent Guardianship - this option is available for individuals who care for a minor child, but are not parents. A guardian becomes responsible for the minor child, ensuring the minor child attends school, has proper medical care, and is supported financially. This type of guardianship is/can be terminated at the minor's 18th birthday.
Legal Name Changes
There are three major categories of name changes - a name change for minor child, a name change for an adult, and a name change to restore a prior name post-divorce.
- Name Change for a Minor Child - this is most frequently done in relation to paternity cases in which a man is found to be the biological father of the minor child and one or both parents seek to change the child's surname to or from the surname of the father.
- Name Change for an Adult - there are innumerable reasons why an adult may wish to change his or her name. The process for a name change for an adult includes safeguards to ensure that it is not for the purpose of defrauding or evading creditors or legal matters, civil or criminal.
- Restoration of Prior Name - this is most frequently done by a previously married party who took the surname of their prior spouse and now wish to restore and return to the legal use of their former surname. Previously this process was identical to that of a name change for an adult. However, the Colorado Legislature recently approved a law permitting a less arduous and expensive process to restore the name of a divorced party who did not seek restoration of a prior name at the time of divorce.