Washington Name Change Forms – How to Change Your Name in WA

The Washington name change forms are available to residents of the State who wish to legally change their name or the name of a minor (person under eighteen years of age). Name change petitions must be filed in the county in which the petitioner resides and all cases are handled by that county’s district court. Name change forms vary by county, as Washington has not standardized this particular set of documents. One need not petition for a name change through the district court in order to legally change one’s name after marriage or divorce.

LawsRCW 4.24.130

Table of Contents

Name Change After Marriage

One of the most common reasons for a change of name is taking that of your spouse after marriage. You have the right to take your spouse’s name or, if you prefer, to hyphenate your last names. Although it seems counter-intuitive, you must sign your marriage license with your old name since you are still legally known by that name until the license is approved. Once your marriage is official, you must sign all documentation with your new name, including your marriage certificate. This certificate will act as proof of your legal name change.

Name Change After Divorce

Since the divorce process is carried out in county court anyway, changing your name after you get divorced is straightforward. The name change process after divorce does not require a petition or any such form, but you must state that you wish to revert to your maiden name before the divorce decree is finalized. Once you’ve made it clear in court that you intend to revert to your name before marriage, a clause will be included in the decree. You can start using your maiden name once the divorce decree has been signed by the judge.

Adult Name Change (No Marriage or Divorce)

Adult name changes can be petitioned by any resident of the State of Washington through their county’s district court. According to the State’s statutes, incarcerated individuals or individuals on the sex offender registry are permitted to petition for a name change; however, this is typically reserved for those who are requesting the change for religious reasons, or in recognition of marriage or the dissolution thereof. Individuals are prohibited from changing their name for fraudulent reasons, or in an attempt to avoid debt or creditors.

There are no standardized name change forms for the State of Washington, so petitioners must access their county’s district court website, or go in person, to obtain the proper forms. Follow this link to get to the list of Washington counties and select your county from the list. Locate the ‘district court’ section and click on the link for their official website. Each county’s district court website will provide the appropriate name change forms.

Step 1 – Download Petition

Download the appropriate Adult Name Change Petition Form (example taken from King County district court website) and complete all fields except for the signature field. It is not mandatory for the Petition to be signed in front of a notary public. However, it’s important to note that by signing this form, you are doing so under penalty of perjury, and perjury is a class B felony.

Step 2 – Gather Documentation

Proof of identity is required when filing a name change petition. Make a certified copy of your driver’s license, passport, or birth certificate before submitting your petition to the court clerk. There may be additional documentation required – check your county’s district court website to ensure you are prepared before visiting the courthouse.

Step 3 – File Petition 

Visit your county’s district court and file your petition with the court clerk. They will review it to make sure all the appropriate information has been provided and demand the filing fee. Fees vary between counties, but the amount is typically posted on their website so you can arrive at the courthouse with the correct amount. (King county, for example, charges $172 filing fee per name change petition.)

Step 4 – Judge’s Approval

More often than not, the petitioner will not be required to appear before a judge. A judge will be assigned to your case and will review the petition in their private chambers. If they are satisfied with the reasoning behind your proposed name change, they will sign an Order for Name Change. This Order will be sent to you, even as early as the same day you file your petition, and can be used to update your name with various government agencies and on important identification documents.

Driver’s License

One of the first things you should do after legally changing your name is update your driver’s license. Washington’s Department of Licensing does not allow name changes to be made online; you will be required to visit the DMV in person. Find your nearest WA DOL office and present proof of your name change (marriage license, court order, divorce decree). You will be asked to pay the $10 replacement fee before you are issued a new driver’s license.

Voter Registration

Updating your new name on your voter registration can be accomplished online, by mail or in person. (In order to complete the process online, you will need a Washington State Driver License or ID.) If you’d like to update your registration information online, visit the online voter registration page and follow the prompts. To update your information by mail or in person, download and complete the Voter Registration Form. Hand-deliver or mail this form to your county’s elections office.

Minor (Child) Name Change

In Washington State, all minor name changes must be petitioned by the minor’s biological parent(s) or legal guardian(s). Any parent not involved in the petition must be notified of the proposed name change and they have the right to challenge the petition. Any minor over the age of fourteen (14) years old must provide consent by signing the petition. The judge assigned to the case will not approve any name change petition if they feel one of the following circumstances applies:

  • Name change is being petitioned for fraudulent reasons
  • Name change is being petitioned for illegal purposes
  • Name change would not be in the best interests of the minor

Step 1 – Download Petition

Each county in the State of Washington offers different petition forms for minor name changes. To ensure your petition moves through the district court smoothly, visit your county’s district court website and download the appropriate Petition (example of Minor Name Change Petition from King County). Once the form has been downloaded, complete all the appropriate fields and include your signature at the bottom.

Step 2 – Minor’s Consent (If Applicable)

If the minor you are petitioning for is fourteen (14) years of age or older, they must provide consent. Have the minor include their signature at the bottom of the Petition.

Step 3 – File Petition

Visit your county’s district court and file the Petition with the court clerk. You will be asked to pay the filing fee, which is usually between $125 and $200, depending on your county. The court clerk will give you a court date once you’ve paid the fee.

Step 4 – Notify Parent(s) (If Applicable)

If only one of the minor’s parents filed the petition (or neither parent), you must notify them that a petition has been filed. You must provide them with information on the proposed name change as well as the court date and time. The parent(s) has (have) the right to challenge the petition on the hearing date.

Step 5 – Court Date

At the time of the hearing, you, the petitioner, and the minor must appear before the judge. Anyone who is invested in the case can make an appearance and will have the chance to challenge the petition if they so choose. The judge will hear all pertinent testimony and will make their decision based on the facts of the case. They will sign an Order approving the name change only once they are satisfied the name change would be in the minor’s best interest. The Order form, once signed, is proof of the name change and can be used to update the minor’s documentation.