(1) Any person desiring a change of his or her name or that of his or her child or ward, may apply therefor to the district court of the judicial district in which he or she resides, by petition setting forth the reasons for such change; thereupon such court in its discretion may order a change of the name and thenceforth the new name shall be in place of the former.
(2) An offender under the jurisdiction of the department of corrections who applies to change his or her name under subsection (1) of this section shall submit a copy of the application to the department of corrections not fewer than five days before the entry of an order granting the name change. No offender under the jurisdiction of the department of corrections at the time of application shall be granted an order changing his or her name if the court finds that doing so will interfere with legitimate penological interests, except that no order shall be denied when the name change is requested for religious or legitimate cultural reasons or in recognition of marriage or dissolution of marriage. An offender under the jurisdiction of the department of corrections who receives an order changing his or her name shall submit a copy of the order to the department of corrections within five days of the entry of the order. Violation of this subsection is a misdemeanor.
(4) The district court shall collect the fees authorized by RCW 36.18.010 for filing and recording a name change order, and transmit the fee and the order to the county auditor. The court may collect a reasonable fee to cover the cost of transmitting the order to the county auditor.
(5) Name change petitions may be filed and shall be heard in superior court when the person desiring a change of his or her name or that of his or her child or ward is a victim of domestic violence as defined in ** RCW 26.50.010(1) and the person seeks to have the name change file sealed due to reasonable fear for his or her safety or that of his or her child or ward. Upon granting the name change, the superior court shall seal the file if the court finds that the safety of the person seeking the name change or his or her child or ward warrants sealing the file. In all cases filed under this subsection, whether or not the name change petition is granted, there shall be no public access to any court record of the name change filing, proceeding, or order, unless the name change is granted but the file is not sealed.
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