This guide briefly discusses the procedures for officially changing your name and all references are to materials for Washington State. Visit either of the following web sites for definitions of the terms used here:
Washington law allows people to change their names. A parent can also apply to the courts to have a child’s name changed; however, the courts will examine such a request and may not allow it. There are no mandatory forms available from the state, but some courts have created their own forms to use.
Where to Begin
The laws that permit a person to change his or her own name are found in the Revised Code of Washington. For the change of name of an adult (outside of a divorce action) or a child, start at RCW 4.24.130. For the change of name of an adult as a result of a divorce, start at RCW 26.09.150. You should also look at one of the resources below for information on the procedure to follow.
Name Change — This brochure was written by the Northwest Justice Project. It is a great resource available to persons who want to change their own name or their child’s name. It contains instructions to follow and sample forms showing you what completed forms could look like.
King County District Court — If you live in King County, the King County District Court has published forms and instructions for you to follow. If you live in another county, contact your local district court to see if they have their own forms for you to use.
Washington Family Law Deskbook, Chapter 66 (shelved at KF505.Z99 W36 2000 v.3 RES) — The Washington Family Law Deskbook is an encyclopedia of family law in Washington. This chapter is a short overview of the law regarding name changes in Washington in the context of a divorce proceeding.
Washington State does not publish any official state-wide forms for name change. The Name Change brochure written by the Northwest Justice Project does have sample forms. Some district courts (including King County and Thurston County) have their own forms and instructions. Contact your local district court to see if they have forms available for you to use.
If You Need More Help
Links Updated: October 2020