Pennsylvania
Legal name change

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How to change names legally, Pennsylvania

If your name change is not from marriage or divorce, then a court order is the only legal way to change your name. A private company cannot issue a legal name change order, although they may help you prepare the court documents for a fee. If you have a reasonable understanding of the court process you could manage your own application.

Save HUNDREDS of dollars with an Easy Name Change kit! We include the adult legal name change petition and forms for Pennsylvania. This is included with your name change notifications at no extra charge! We offer the most comprehensive legal name change kit available in Pennsylvania!  

Complete the Civil Cover Sheet and the Petition for Name Change forms. Print off one copy of each then sign the forms before a Notary Public where indicated. Arrange for approved fingerprinting. File your forms, original birth certificate and fingerprints together at the County Court of Common Pleas where you reside. Provide your forms to the court administrator for your hearing to be scheduled. You will have your paperwork stamped and be provided with a copy of your forms, plus your Order for Publication.

Pay the filing fee set by your county, which could be anywhere from $150 to almost $350. Place the necessary notice in an approved newspaper. Return to the court and attend your hearing. 

If successful, you will be issued with a court order approving your name change. You can purchase certified copies of the order, usually on the same day. Show this order where necessary to have your identification and records updated.

Your court can provide you with details on agencies that are authorized to take your fingerprints. Submit your approved fingerprint card to the court at the time of filing, then they will be sent to the Pennsylvania State Police Central Repository where a criminal history check will be done. Check with your court if the results are back to the court automatically.

Any Pennsylvania resident can file for a name change in the county where they currently reside. There may be requirements on the length of time you have resided in the state or county before you file. A name change is usually granted whenever there is a sound reason for the change. A name change is not allowed if your intent is to trick, defraud or deceive anyone. Your name change should be found to be in both your personal and the public’s interest.

If you have special circumstances, such as a need for confidentiality, have a felony, have claimed bankruptcy, or have judgments or liens against you there are additional considerations. Contact your county court for specific information relating to your situation.

At the time of filing your petition, court administration will provide you with an Order for Publication. This document lists your hearing date and other particulars necessary for publishing in a newspaper. Ask the county court staff for an approved list of newspapers where your order can appear. Ensure you arrange for the order to be published at least 30 days before your hearing date. The newspaper may send a certificate of publication to you or the court. It’s also a good idea to keep a copy of the newspaper where the order appeared and take along to your hearing.

Your hearing is usually set to be scheduled within 90 days. This provides sufficient time to have your Order for Publication executed with an approved newspaper. Attend your hearing and take the necessary proof of newspaper publication, plus the stamped copies of your court-filed documents. The court must be satisfied that you have a reasonable and proper cause for your name change. Your name will be changed in the absence of fraud or other misrepresentation.

Once the Judge grants your name change, you can usually collect your court order approving the name change on the same day as your hearing. This will be at an additional cost and is not covered by your filing fee. This document is essential to prove your name has changed and have organizations update your identification and records.

Your name is considered legally changed once the Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas issues you an order granting your name change. There is a totally separate process for getting your records updated, which is where Easy Name Change helps. 

We step out the order in which to get your records updated and provide all the necesary forms, ready to sign and send! Always start by filing form SS5-Application for a Social Security Card within 10 days. This can be filed by mail or in person.

Next, update your state-issued ID. File form DL-80 with the DMV. Finally, go on to change names everywhere else. Save hours making a list then calling each necessary company to figure out what to do. We provide ready-to-send forms for SSA and the DMV plus 1,000 other organizations.  We cover banks, credit cards, utilities, communication, loyalty and more. No guesswork, no unnecessary waiting on hold.  

If you are married in California, you must include your name change on the license at the time of application. Changes are only possible to middle and/or last names. Either spouse can elect to make the following changes, and spouses may have different surnames;

Last names

  • Take either spouse’s current surname
  • Take either spouse’s birth surname
  • Hyphenate both surnames
  • A single blended surname, where any part or segment of both spouse’s birth or current surnames are formed together to make a new surname
  • Leave your last name as is

Middle names

  • The current surname of either spouse
  • The surname of either spouse at birth
  • A hyphenated combination of the current middle name and current last name of the person or spouse
  • A hyphenated combination of the current middle name and the birth last name of the person or spouse
  • Leave your middle name as is

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INFORMATION HUB

Legal Name Change

You can be known by any name, but to get identification and records changed you need a court order. Fees and turnaround times vary significantly between states. Apply for your court order, then attach to our notifications and send. MORE
Legal name change petitions should be filed with your local court house. Turnaround times vary significantly by county and filing fees are set by your state. Companies generally do not charge to update your name unless a new credential needs to be reissued. MORE
If you’re legally entitled to reside in the USA you can change your name legally. There can be significant costs with your petition and immigration filings. If you are planning on becoming a US citizen it may be cheaper and faster to wait. MORE
This process is managed by your county court. We provide general information to get started on your child’s name change, but it’s always best to contact your local court directly. MORE
Once you have a court document proving your new name it’s then your responsibility to get your records updated. No records are linked, so you need to contact each organization directly and follow a separate process. MORE
If you’ve decided to file a legal name change application with the court we’ve got some information to help you along the way. MORE