When should a Case Type 5 CHN Confidential Change of Name cause of action be used and what is the process if the name change is granted but not sealed?
Recent changes to RCW 4.24.130 have caused confusion about adding Name Change cases for new criteria in Superior Court. This summary attempts to clarify the law and to offer best practices for case management. The Confidential Change of Name (CHN5) case type was created for filing name change cases that include a fear of domestic violence. SB 5028 expands on the criteria for filing a confidential name change case in Superior Court to include emancipated minors, persons receiving asylum, refugees, or special immigrant juvenile status, or if the reason is related to gender expression or identity.
- When a name change petition lists one of the following reasons for the name change it should be filed as a Case Type 5 CHN Confidential Change of Name cause of action:
- When the petitioner is an emancipated minor under chapter 13.64 RCW or has received asylum, refugee, or special immigrant juvenile status.
- If the reason for the name change is related to gender expression or identity
- If due to an experience of or reasonable fear of domestic violence, stalking, unlawful harassment, or coercive control.
Note: A confidential case type is justified because of the requirement in RCW 4.24.130(5)(c ) that there be no public access to any court record of the name change filing, proceeding, or order.
2. Once the name change is granted, and absent a court order that the case should not be sealed, the case security level should be changed to Sealed Confidential Name Change.
3. RCW 4.24.130 also mentions a circumstance when the name change case would be public if the name change is granted, but the file is not sealed. In this instance, you should open a case type 2 name change (CHN2) case and relate it to the case type 5 case.
The case Security for Case type 5 Confidential Name Change cases (CHN5) defaults to “Confidential Name Change 5”. This case security only allows access to staff in your county with the security role CM-WIP Five. After the case is ordered sealed the case security would be changed to “Sealed Confidential Name Change”. Only staff in your county with the CM-WIP Five role and the CM–Sealed role have access to see cases with this security. The public cannot view cases with these two security groups. Staff in other counties also cannot view cases with these two security groups.
For More information, see: eService Answer - 2023 Legislative Changes Impacting the Superior Courts, County Clerks, and Juvenile Departments (SSB 5028 - Revising the Name Change Request Process)