WHO CAN CHANGE A NAME? HOW DIFFICULT IS THE PROCESS?
In Washington State any person over eighteen years of age can choose and use any name he or she wishes as long as the purpose of the change in the name is not to defraud another. An example of defrauding another would be to change names to avoid paying bills or other creditors or the escape obligations such as child support. Otherwise, changing names is legal.
The process to change your name is simple and straightforward. The process to change the name of your minor child (a "minor" is a person under the age of eighteen years) is a little more involved. It is the purpose of this informational brochure to explain the procedure for changing a name, either your name or the name of a minor child.
A name changed by marriage does not need a court order. The married name becomes the legal name. If the marriage ends, a name change may be included in the divorce decree, or by filing a petition for name change.
HOW DO I OBTAIN A COURT ORDER TO CHANGE MY NAME?
To get a court ordered name change, you must first file a petition in the District Court of the county or other judicial district in which you live. If you live in Grays Harbor County, you should file your petition for a name change at the Aberdeen location of District Court:
Pearsall Building,Room 201
2109 Sumner Ave.
Aberdeen, WA 98520
Tel. (360) 532-7061
Fax (360) 532-7704
Petition of Name Change for an adult Form
Petition of Name Change for a child Form
Forms are also available through the District Court Office.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO FILE FOR A NAME CHANGE?
If you file your petition in Grays Harbor County District Court, you will need to pay a filing fee of $155.00 for adults, $156.00 for minors - cash only. Personal checks are not acceptable for court filing fees. If you live in another county, check with that county's district court for the amount of the required fees. It may be a different amount.
WHAT DO I NEED TO INCLUDE IN THE PETITION FOR NAME CHANGE?
A petition for name change should state your current full name, your requested new name, and the reasons for the change. A petition should also state that you are not changing your name for fraudulent purposes and that changing your name will not be detrimental to the interest of any other person.
HOW DO I CHANGE THE NAME ON A BIRTH CERTIFICATE?
Mail a certified copy of the Court Order to:
Dept. of Health, Center for Health Statistics
PO Box 9709
Olympia, WA 98507-9709
A fee is charged to purchase a copy of the amended Birth Certificate. Contact the Center for Health Statistics at telephone (360) 753-5936, if you have any further questions about this process. For out-of-state births, contact the Vital Records office of that state to determine that state's procedures.
As you can see from reading this brochure, changing a name is not complicated. However, there are often questions relating to notifying government agencies and others of the name change. If you have any questions not answered by this brochure, we will do our best to answer them or refer you to someone who can.