What to do when you want your name changed?

Changing your name depends on your situation, where you lived over the past 5-years, and how old you are.

Changing ones name includes filing a petition, performing a change of name search, and publishing in a local newspaper and in the local law reporter.

To start, a petition must be filed in the County where they reside, which includes a Change of Name search. However, if you have not lived in the county that you are currently residing for 5-years then you need to perform a Change of Name search in each and every county you have resided in over the past 5-years and provide the proof of the search to the Court.

If, the Petitioner is requesting a Change of Name for their minor children and the minor children are under 12-years-old then no fingerprinting is necessary. If, you or the minor children are 12-years-old or older, then the minor children would need to be fingerprinted by the local Police Department.

All Counties have filing fees for the Change of Name petition. The filing fee will depend on what the county you live in charges for the Change of Name petition. Currently, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, charges $148.oo dollars for a Change of Name petition, which does not include the cost of publishing.

After, filing the Change of Name petition, you would have to schedule a hearing. When the hearing occurs, depends on the County’s procedures, which usually are scheduled 30-days or 45-days later. The hearing would also go by the Judge assigned schedule, so it may take longer to have the hearing.

The next step the Petitioner would have to do is publish two (2) advertising of the pending Change of Name hearing. One must be published in the local County Law Reporter and one in a newspaper of local circulation in the County where the one who is seeking to change their name lives.

Depending on the local rules of the County where the Petition for Change of Name is filed will depend on how long the advertising must be published. Usually, the advertising must be published for 30-days. All Counties should and will give you time to publish and to get proof of publishing before the day of the hearing.

Once the advertisings are complete, proof of publication will be needed, and must be given to the Judge, in order to prove that the two (2) advertisings were in deed published.

If, the Change of Name Petition involves the biological father and mother then you must mail a copy of the Change of Name Petitioner and Order for Hearing by USPS Regular Mail and Certified Mail Return Receipt Requested. See 54 Pa.C.S.A. § 701

Any question or other legal problems, feel free to come see me at the Prince Law Offices, P.C. Pottstown Office, located at 2081 East High Street, Pottstown, PA 19464. It is always wise to have an Advocate fighting on your side, no matter what the legal issue is.

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “What to do when you want your name changed?

  1. What if you own NFA items and want to.change your name?

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    • David Cohen, Esq.

      If, you are referring to the National Firearm Act, meaning firearms you own, this would not matter. Anyone over 12-years-old who is seeking to change his or her name would need to be fingerprinted, have name searches performed in the county where he or she resides, or all counties where he or she has resided over the past 5-years. Usually, as long as the name searches are clean, no liens, no criminal record, one is not attempting to defraud anyone, hide from debt collectors, etc., one can get there named changed. The most common reasons to get ones name changed is divorce.

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  2. When I got married, I wanted to change my middle name to something other than my maiden name. Maryland DMV at first refused the change, only allowing me to change my surname. So I sent a letter to the SSA with a name change request that included the middle name I wanted. They complied. I used the new Social Security card to change my passport. And, after a long and heated argument with Maryland DMV, they finally allowed that a US Passport was sufficient evidence of a name change to change my driver’s license. I did this all in the late summer of 2000. I’m told this method is no longer possible due to 9/11.

    I thought it used to be the case that you could use any name you wanted so long as there was no intent to defraud. Wasn’t evidence of name use enough to get your ID changed?

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    • David Cohen, Esq.

      Sorry, but I do not know what Maryland requires to have ones name changed. I am licensed in Pennsylvania. In Pennsylvania, as long as one who is seeking to change his or her name is not attempting to defraud anyone, or hide his or her criminal convictions, or escape debt, and has a legitimate reason, there petition for a name change will granted. The most common reason for a change of name is divorce.

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