Name Change – General – Washington
Note: This summary is not intended to be an all inclusive discussion of the law applicable to an action for change of name in the State of Washington, but does include basic and other provisions.
Name Change Action Allowed: In the State of Washington, an adult may change their name by filing an action in the District Court with appropriate forms.
Who is an adult? A person who has attained the age of 18 years is considered an adult.
Who is a minor? A person who has not attained the age of 18 years is considered a minor.
Is there any reason why a person might not be allowed to change his or her name? Yes. The approval of the name change is “in the discretion” of the Court. Essentially this requires the court find that the requested name change has a reasonable basis and is consistent with the public interest. A person is not allowed to change their name in order to avoid judgments or legal actions against him or her, or to avoid debts and obligations. A person can not change their name to defraud any person.
Requirements for Name Change Order: For an order of name change to be granted, the court must finds sufficient reasons for the change and also find it consistent with the public interest. A change of name upon marriage, dissolution, or divorce meets these requirements.
Is Publication of a Notice Required? No.
Can individuals “object” to my Petition for Name Change? Yes. Any reasonable objections made to the court may influence the court’s findings as to whether there are sufficient reasons not to grant the request and whether the change of name is consistent with the public interest.
Procedures: The Petition is filed in the District Court in the county where the Petitioner resides. The Petition informs the Court of the Petitioner’s name, the name they wish to assume and the reasons for the requested name change. Once the required forms have been filed, the Court will set the Petition for a hearing.
At the hearing, if the Court is persuaded that there is a reasonable basis and not contrary to the public interest, the Order will be signed.
Additional Information and Instructions:
Action for change of name — Fees:
(1) Any person desiring a change of his or her name or that of his or her child or ward, may apply therefor to the district court of the judicial district in which he or she resides, by petition setting forth the reasons for such change; thereupon such court in its discretion may order a change of the name and thenceforth the new name shall be in place of the former.
(2) An offender under the jurisdiction of the department of corrections who applies to change his or her name under subsection (1) of this section shall submit a copy of the application to the department of corrections not fewer than five days before the entry of an order granting the name change. No offender under the jurisdiction of the department of corrections at the time of application shall be granted an order changing his or her name if the court finds that doing so will interfere with legitimate penological interests, except that no order shall be denied when the name change is requested for religious or legitimate cultural reasons or in recognition of marriage or dissolution of marriage. An offender under the jurisdiction of the department of corrections who receives an order changing his or her name shall submit a copy of the order to the department of corrections within five days of the entry of the order. Violation of this subsection is a misdemeanor.
(3) A sex offender subject to registration under RCW 9A.44.130 who applies to change his or her name under subsection (1) of this section shall follow the procedures set forth in *RCW 9A.44.130(6).
(4) The district court shall collect the fees authorized by RCW 36.18.010 for filing and recording a name change order, and transmit the fee and the order to the county auditor. The court may collect a reasonable fee to cover the cost of transmitting the order to the county auditor.
(5) Name change petitions may be filed and shall be heard in superior court when the person desiring a change of his or her name or that of his or her child or ward is a victim of domestic violence as defined in **RCW 26.50.010(1) and the person seeks to have the name change file sealed due to reasonable fear for his or her safety or that of his or her child or ward. Upon granting the name change, the superior court shall seal the file if the court finds that the safety of the person seeking the name change or his or her child or ward warrants sealing the file. In all cases filed under this subsection, whether or not the name change petition is granted, there shall be no public access to any court record of the name change filing, proceeding, or order, unless the name change is granted but the file is not sealed. [Revised Code of Washington, Title 4 Civil Procedure, Chapter 4.24 Special Rights of Action and Special Immunities, § 4.24.130(2000).]
Other Name Change References:
Age of majority:
Except as otherwise specifically provided by law, all persons shall be deemed and taken to be of full age for all purposes at the age of eighteen years. [Revised Code of Washington, Title 26 Domestic Relations, Chapter 26.28 Age of Majority, § 26.28.010(2000).]
Age of majority for enumerated specific purposes.
Notwithstanding any other provision of law, and except as provided under RCW 26.50.020, all persons shall be deemed and taken to be of full age for the specific purposes hereafter enumerated at the age of eighteen years:
(1) To enter into any marriage contract without parental consent if otherwise qualified by law;
(2) To execute a will for the disposition of both real and personal property if otherwise qualified by law;
(3) To vote in any election if authorized by the Constitution and otherwise qualified by law;
(4) To enter into any legal contractual obligation and to be legally bound thereby to the full extent as any other adult person;
(5) To make decisions in regard to their own body and the body of their lawful issue whether natural born to or adopted by such person to the full extent allowed to any other adult person including but not limited to consent to surgical operations;
(6) To sue and be sued on any action to the full extent as any other adult person in any of the courts of this state, without the necessity for a guardian ad litem. [Revised Code of Washington, Title 26 Domestic Relations, Chapter 26.28 Age of Majority, § 26.28.015 (2000).]
Married persons — When deemed of full age:
All minor persons married to a person of full age shall be deemed and taken to be of full age. [Revised Code of Washington, Title 26 Domestic Relations, Chapter 26.28 Age of Majority, § 26.28.020(2000).]