Who can change a name?
This information explains the procedures for changing either your name or the name of your minor child or ward. In Washington State any person over 18 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 or for any illegal purpose. An example of defrauding another would be to change names to avoid paying bills, or other creditors, or to escape obligations such as child support. The process to change your name is simple and straightforward. The process to change the name of your minor child or ward is a bit more complicated.
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 in the county and judicial district in which you reside. If you live in Clallam County, you may file your petition for name change in either location of the District Court depending on your residence location:
District Court 1 (East of Lake Crescent):
Clallam County Courthouse, 223 East 4th Street, Port Angeles, WA 98362 (360-417-2560).
District Court 2 (West of Lake Crescent):
502 East Division, Forks, WA 98331 (360-374-6383).
Either office can assist you to insure you are filing in the proper court.
How much does it cost to file for a name change?
The filing fee is $93.00 plus a $73.00 fee for filing with the Auditor's Office which must be paid in cash, or by money order or certified check. Personal checks are not accepted. Certified copies of your order may be obtained in perpetuity from the Auditor after recording.
What information do I need to include in the petition for a name change?
A petition for name change should state your current full exact name, your requested new name, spelled exactly, and the reasons for the change. The petition should also state that you are not changing your name for fraudulent or illegal purposes and that changing your name will not be detrimental to the interests of any other person. If you are an offender under the jurisdiction of the Department of Corrections, you must follow special procedures. If you are a registered sex offender subject to registration under RCW 9A.44.130, you must also follow special procedures.
Once the judge has signed the order changing your name, you will need to inform certain agencies of the change. The court staff cannot act for such agencies but will assist you when able by referral to those agencies.
Rick Porter, Judge
Clallam County District Court I