The Court of Common Pleas may issue an order changing the name of any person living in the county. An individual must start the procedure by filing a petition.
The Petition must contain the following Information:
- Petitioner’s name, Petitioner’s desire and intention to change his or her name;
- Reason for seeking the name change;
- The Petitioner’s current residence
- The petitioner’s residence or residence for and during the five years before the time when the petition will be filed;
- A set of the petitioner’s fingerprints. Fingerprint cards are obtained at the Prothonotary Office of Court of Common Pleas and taken to the State Police for fingerprinting.
- Whether Petition has any prior criminal record;
- Whether there are any liens or judgments of record filed against Petitioner
After the petition has been filed, the Court will enter an order directing the petitioner to give notice of the name change filing. The Court will order that the petitioner publish the notice. The purpose of publishing the notice is to let the community know that you are seeking to have your name changed. Anyone who would have a lawful objection to the changing of your name would be given notice by the publication.
The notice must be published in two newspapers of general circulation. You may publish the notice in a local newspaper in your county of residence or in a nearby county. An official paper for publication of legal notices may also be used. For example, the local County Bar Association may have a publication for legal notices that you can use.
Proof of publication must be presented at the hearing. A copy of the notice taken from the newspaper may be submitted to the Court as proof of publication. However, if the court finds that the publication of the notice would jeopardize the safety of the person seeking the name change, or his or her child or ward, the Court can issue an order waiving the publication of the notice.
Proof of Financial Standing
The Commonwealth is very concerned that adult individuals will attempt to avoid financial obligation by changing their names. An adult petitioner must also present official proof that there are no outstanding judgments against him or her. Official proof should consist of a judgement/lien check completed, signed and sealed by the Prothonotary's office. Proof that no outstanding judgments or liens exist must be provided from every county where the adult petitioner has lived during the five years prior to filing of the Petition for Name Change.