Washington D.C. Name Change Forms – How to Change Your Name in D.C.

Updated January 11, 2022

A Washington, D.C. name change form can be used by anyone who has lived in D.C. for more than six months to apply for a legal name change. To change the name of a minor, a parent, legal guardian, or next-of-kin may apply on behalf of the child. While name changes related to marriage and divorce are more simple to accomplish, the state-mandated process for name change includes filling out court forms, preparing supporting documentation, appearing before a judge, and can also include notifying third parties such as credit card companies and law enforcement.

Laws§ 16–2501 and § 16–2503

Table of Contents

Name Change After Marriage

Legally changing one’s name after marriage in DC is a free and simple process that doesn’t require moving through the court. To change a last name in the event of marriage, go to the nearest Social Security Administration office or acquire the SS-5 form online. The application requires copies of the marriage certificate, birth certificate, and valid identification and takes approximately two (2) weeks to be processed.

Name Change After Divorce

Changing one’s name in the event of a divorce is a very straightforward process because it does not require a petition or any such form. All that is required is to state during the divorce proceedings one’s wish to revert to their maiden or another previous name before the divorce decree is finalized. Once this is made clear in court, a clause will be included in the decree. Once the decree is signed by the judge, the name change will take effect immediately.

Adult Name Change (No Marriage or Divorce)

For reasons other than marriage, divorce, or a court mandate, getting a legal name change requires more steps through the state process, which is processed through the superior court. Under Washington DC law, one must have lived in DC for at least six months prior to submitting the application, be at least eighteen (18) years old, and pay a filing fee of $60.

Step 1 – Download Application

Find and download the official form, Application for Change of Name of an Adult. After carefully filling out all the fields on the application, make sure to sign the form in front of a notary public.

Step 2 – Gather Documentation

Proof of identity and residency is required when filing a name change petition. Have an original birth certificate and make a certified copy of the driver’s license and passport as well as utility bills, bank statements, or pay stubs before submitting the petition to the court clerk. There may be additional documentation required depending on the situation.

Step 3 – File Petition 

Visit the Civil Actions Branch of the DC Superior Court and file the petition with the court clerk. The filing fee is $60, payable in cash or money order. Once it is confirmed that the application has been completed and all required documents are attached, an Order and Notice of Final Hearing date and time will be provided.

Step 4 – Publication and Notifying Third Parties

It is required to publish the name change in a regional newspaper within twelve (12) days of filing, and the notice must be published once a week for three consecutive weeks. Once all costs have been paid, the newspaper will provide a Certified Proof of Publication to provide the court.

Additionally, notice of the hearing as well as a copy of the application must be served upon all creditors and interested parties designated by the court within 10 days of filing. This can include mortgage companies, credit card companies, student loan companies, and more. If the applicant is not a United States citizen, they must also send the copies by certified or registered mail to the Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement Bureau. If the applicant has a criminal record, the appropriate law enforcement agencies must be contacted as well.

Step 5 – Final Hearing

Once all the designated parties have been notified and other requirements have been met, a final hearing will take place before the Judge-in-Chambers. If the petition is granted, several certified copies of the Order for Name Change of an Adult will be provided.

Driver’s License

One of the first things that should be undertaken after a legal name change is updating one’s driver’s license. This can be done by visiting the nearest DMV and bringing a current driver’s license in addition to a court-certified Order for Name Change, marriage certificate, or divorce decree.

Voter Registration

Updating a voter registration can be accomplished online, by mail or in person. To update the registration information online, visit the online voter registration page and follow the prompts. To update by mail or in person, download and complete the Voter Registration Form. Hand-deliver or mail this form to the DC Board of Elections office.

Minor (Child) Name Change

In Washington DC, a name change for a minor (younger than age 18) must be petitioned by a parent, legal guardian, or next-of-kin. Any parent not involved in the petition must be notified of the proposed name change, and they have the right to challenge the petition. If, however, the applicant believes that they cannot locate the other parent, they will be required to file a notarized affidavit noting what steps were taken to notify that parent.

Step 1 – Download Petition

Download the official form, Application for Change of Name of a Minor. After carefully filling out all the fields on the application, make sure to sign the form in front of a notary public.

Step 2 – Gather Documentation

Similar to applying for an adult’s name change, this petition also requires proof of identification and residency for the child. Make certified copies of the minor’s birth certificate as well as any documents that establish the child’s residency in DC. There may be additional documentation required depending on the situation, including a child support order, acknowledgment of paternity, and more.

Step 3 – File Petition

Visit the Civil Actions Branch of the DC Superior Court and file the petition with the court clerk. The filing fee is $60, payable in cash or money order. Once it is confirmed that the application has been completed and all required documents are attached, the applicant will be provided with an Order and Notice of Final Hearing date and time.

Step 4 – Notify Third Parties

Within 10 days of filing the petition, the applicant on behalf of the child must mail or personally serve all interested parties, such as another parent, credit card companies, and loan companies. If the minor has a juvenile record, the applicant must notify the Court Social Services, the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services, and the Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department either personally or by certified or registered mail.

Failure to comply within ten (10) days will result in a dismissal of the petition.

Step 5 – Court Date

Once all the designated parties have been notified and other requirements have been met, a final hearing will take place before a judge in family court or Judge-in-Chambers. If the petition is granted, several certified copies of the Order for Name Change of a Minor will be provided.