Name Changes


Where & When to File

A person desiring to change their name or that of a child or ward who resides anywhere in Washington State may file a petition in any county in the state of Washington. The petition must be filed with the District Court Clerk's Office during business hours, Monday through Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Once we receive your petition and the filing fee is paid (or a fee waiver is approved) a court hearing will be scheduled for the next available date. Hearings are held on Fridays at 1:30 p.m. You will be offered the next available date once the filing fee is paid or a fee waiver has been approved.

How to File

A petitioner must fill out a Petition for Name Change (PDF). The petitioner must appear in court for the hearing. The name cannot be changed by mail. Bring picture ID with you for your hearing. If you are requesting a name change for a minor child, it is suggested that you bring the following information:

  • Picture ID for yourself and your child (if available)
  • A copy of the child's birth certificate.
  • An affidavit signed by both the child's legal parents agreeing and consenting to the name change; or, alternatively, information or documentation showing the measures you have taken to notify the other parent of the requested change and the date and time of the hearing.

It is suggested that minors aged 10 and above be present at the court hearing.

Filing Fees

The filing fee is $296.50 and we accept cash only, or you may submit a Motion for Waiver of Civil Fees. This is a non-refundable fee, which includes both the fee to record the name change with the Whatcom County Auditor and a fee to provide you with 2 certified copies of the Name Change Order. Additional certified copies of the order may be purchased after court for $5 each, cash only.

Frequently Asked Questions

I would like my Name Change Order to be Sealed

District Court does not have jurisdiction to seal Name Change orders. Therefore, under the following circumstances, petitions must be filed in Whatcom County Superior Court:

  • Emancipated Minors
  • Asylum, refugee, or special immigrant juvenile status
  • If you are seeking a sealed name change order related to gender expression or identity as defined in RCW 49.60.040
  • Due to an experience of or reasonable fear of domestic violence, stalking, unlawful harassment, or coercive control as defined in RCW 7.105.010

If any of the above scenarios apply to your situation, please contact Superior Court for filing information. The number for the Superior Court is (360)778-5560 and they are located on the 3rd floor.

I got married. How do I change my name?

If you are changing your name because of marriage and only intend to change your last name, you do not need a legal name change. Use a copy of your marriage certificate to update your name.

I got divorced. How do I change my name?

If you are changing your name because of a divorce, you should check to see if that was included in your divorce decree before paying for a name change.

Where do I take my certified Name Change Order? What if I need more copies?

The two certified copies of the Name Change Order that are provided after court are meant for Department of Licensing and Social Security. Other agencies may need additional copies, which can be purchased at the District Court Clerk’s Office for $5 each. Name Change Orders are only kept on file in the District Court Clerk’s Office for 3 years. They are retained permanently by the Whatcom County Auditor. The Auditor’s Office can be reached at (360) 778-5100 and they are located on the 1st floor.