How to Change Your Legal Name in Pennsylvania

By David Carnes

In Pennsylvania, anyone has the right to informally change his name. Changing your name informally, however, will not be enough to have new identification documents issued in your new name. To formally change your name, you must petition for a court order. The judge will not grant your petition if he believes you are seeking to change your name for fraudulent purposes, such as avoiding debts or evading criminal prosecution. Anyone can file an objection to your name change petition.

In Pennsylvania, anyone has the right to informally change his name. Changing your name informally, however, will not be enough to have new identification documents issued in your new name. To formally change your name, you must petition for a court order. The judge will not grant your petition if he believes you are seeking to change your name for fraudulent purposes, such as avoiding debts or evading criminal prosecution. Anyone can file an objection to your name change petition.

Step 1

File a name change petition in the Court of Common Please with jurisdiction over your county of residence. Your petition must state your desire to change your name, list your current and desired names, give the reason for your name change and list your residences over the past five years. The filing fee varies by county. The court will schedule a name change hearing within one to three months after the filing date.

Get help changing your legal name. Learn More

Step 2

Publish notification of your name change in two newspapers of general circulation in your county or an adjoining county. Obtain receipts or other documentation proving that you published the notices.The court will notify you of the required content of the notice.

Step 3

Obtain copies of your criminal record and any civil judgments rendered against you during the past five years. If you have lived in Pennsylvania for the past five years, contact the Pennsylvania State Police for a copy of your criminal record and contact the Clerk of the Court of Common Pleas in the counties where you resided for copies of any civil judgments. If you have no criminal record over the past five years, or if no civil judgments have been rendered against you during that time, ask these authorities for a clearance certificate confirming the absence of a record.

Step 4

Attend your name change hearing. Bring proof of publication of your public notice, along with copies of your criminal and civil judgment records (or clearance certificate). If your petition is granted, you may request a copy of the court order from the court clerk.

Step 5

Replace your identity documents with new documents reflecting your new name, using a copy of the court order as evidence of the change. You can replace your Social Security card using Social Security Administration Form SS-5. To change your Pennsylvania driver's license, use Pennsylvania Department of Transportation Form DL-80 or Dl-143. To change your non-driver's identification card, use Pennsylvania Department of Transportation Form DL-54B.

Get help changing your legal name. Learn More
How to Legally Change Your Middle Name

References

Related articles

How to Get Another Copy of a Name Change Certificate

You can request a certified copy of the order to change your name from the issuing court for legal proof of the new name. Both the local Social Security office and state department of motor vehicles will ask for official proof of the change when you change your name on your state identification and Social Security card. Using identification that shows your new name makes using that name much easier. You also need a copy if you want to change your name on your birth certificate and for other entities, such as your bank.

If You Get Divorced, Can You Change Your Name to Something Different From Your Maiden Name?

Changing back to your maiden name after a divorce is a simple process in most states -- simply petition the court to modify the divorce decree. If you wish to change your name to another name, however, you may not rely on your divorce as legal grounds for your name change. Instead, you must commence a separate legal action. Although procedures vary by state, they include certain common features.

How to Legally Change a Name in Georgia

You may wish to change your name for one of many reasons -- you may have gotten married or divorced, for example, or you may simply dislike your birth name. If you live in Georgia, you may petition a local court to legally change your name. Your eligibility for a name change is governed by Georgia state law. After you complete your name change, you will have to amend your state and federal identity documents to reflect the change.

Doing the right thing has never been easier.

Related articles

How to Legally Change Your Name in North Carolina

In many states, you do not need to petition a court to change your name due to marriage, divorce or adoption -- you may ...

How to Change Your Last Name in Illinois

Changing your last name due to marriage or divorce is relatively simple in Illinois: you need only present your ...

How to Legally Change a Name in New Mexico

Legally changing your name in New Mexico is a straightforward and simple process. You need only be 14 years of age to ...

Name Change Requirements in the State of Illinois

In Illinois, you can change your name when getting married or divorced, but you can also change your name for other ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED