Petition and Filing Fee.
You must be a resident of Cowlitz County and file a petition for change of name with the Cowlitz County District Court. There is a cash filing fee that is due when the petition is filed, see the District Court Office for the amount. A separate petition and filing fee are required for each person whose name is to be changed. If you use another petition form, you will still be required to provide all information requested on the court's form.
- Children under age 18 must be represented by a parent or guardian in the name change process. If you want to change the name of your minor child, you may file a petition on his or her behalf.
- The child's other parent has a right to be heard. If the other parent agrees with the name change, he or she should sign the petition and attend the court hearing, or file a notarized Consent to Change of Name. The clerk can provide a consent form.
- If the other parent doesn't sign the petition or file a consent form, you must serve the other parent with a copy of the petition at least 30 days before the court hearing. Have the clerk fill in the court date before you serve it.
- There are two ways to serve the petition. First, you may send the petition by certified mail, and file with the court a copy of the return receipt showing the signature of the other parent. Second, you can have a law enforcement officer or process server serve the other parent personally with a copy of the petition, and file proof of service with the court.
- If you can't serve the other parent with a copy of the petition, you must explain to the court what efforts you have made to notify the other parent, and the judge will decide whether the name change can proceed. You must file a sworn statement showing how you have tried to notify the other parent. The clerk can give you a form for this.
The clerk will assign a date for you to come to court and have the judge decide on your petition.
Copies of Order.
If the petition is granted, the judge will sign an order changing name. You will be given two certified copies of this order. Additional certified copies of your order may be obtained in perpetuity from the Cowlitz County Auditor after recording.