Having the ability to change your name is important to many people for a variety of reasons. Some may wish to change it because they have recently married, divorced or remarried, while others may be interested in getting a child’s name changed after he or she has been adopted. Whatever the reason, your Conshohocken name change lawyer wants you to understand the process under Pennsylvania law so you can know what to expect.

Changing a Child’s Name

At birth, the parent who has custody of the child has the right to give him or her whatever last name is preferred, whether it be the mother’s last name, father’s last name or the last name of someone completely different.  However, if a child’s parents wish to have his or her name changed after the issuance of the birth certificate, they must take certain steps.

First, if both parents agree to the change, they should fill out and sign the form provided on the back of the birth certificate. Once completed, they should mail that form to the Department of Vital Statistics, where a new birth certificate will be issued noting the child’s new name.

However, if one of the biological parents disagrees with the name change after the issuance of a birth certificate, the parent will need to file a petition with the Court of Common Pleas in the area where the child resides. A skilled name change attorney can help you with the petition to ensure all information is properly included.

The petitioning parent will need to attach a copy of the birth certificate and his or her fingerprints to the petition, as well as provide notice to the other parent and publish notice of the name change. Ultimately, the parties will have to go to court for a hearing.

Changing an Adult’s Name

Any adult in Conshohocken or elsewhere in Pennsylvania can seek to have his or her name changed; however, that adult will need to demonstrate to the court that he or she is not doing so in an effort to commit fraud or avoid meeting financial commitments. That being the case, the procedures will differ for obtaining a name change, depending on your specific circumstances.

If you are an adult seeking to change your name after a divorce, the process is fairly simple. You must complete a Notice to Resume Prior Surname form, which can be obtained from the clerk of court in the county where you were divorced. If you obtained your divorce in a different state, you can simply file a copy of the divorce decree. There is a fee associated with the filing.

Any adult seeking a name change for any other reason will need to fill out a Petition to Change Name form with the clerk of court in his or her county of residence. The petition will detail the reason for the change. You must also attach a copy of your fingerprints and birth certificate to the petition. Once the petition has been filed and the applicable fees have been paid, the petitioner will need to publish or announce the name change in at least two newspapers and show the court proof of publication. Ultimately, the judge will hold a hearing to determine whether the change request is legitimate.

If you or someone you love is interested in having a name changed, speak with one of the skilled name change attorneys at Obermayer Rebmann Maxwell & Hippel LLP by calling (610) 825-3634 or use our online contact form.