Even if a person is never involved in any form of litigation throughout his or her life, there are still a number of occasions where the assistance of a lawyer may be needed. One such instance occurs when a person wants to change his or her legal name. There are numerous reasons to change a legal name including: retaking your maiden name; modifying a name that is difficult to spell or pronounce; changing your child’s last name; or changing your name for professional purposes. Although the reason for a name change might be obvious, the process one must navigate to do so is not.
The procedure for having a name changed legally is actually more complex than one might expect. There are quite a few steps a petitioner must follow through with before the court will give its permission for a person to change his or her name. First, before one can even file the complaint, a petitioner must be fingerprinted by the local or state police and that fingerprint card must be submitted to the Prothonotary with the Complaint for Change of Name. The fingerprint card is submitted to make sure that the petitioner is not changing his or her name for the purpose of avoiding a prior criminal record.
After the Complaint is filed, the Court will set a hearing date at which a judge will consider whether or not a person should be permitted to change his or her name. In the interim, the petitioner must conduct a number of searches with the Prothonotary, Clerk of Courts and Recorder of Deeds. These searches serve to prove that he or she does not have any outstanding creditors. The Court will not permit an individual to change his or her name if it thinks that the person is attempting to avoid creditors through the name change.
Additionally, the petitioner must advertise the fact that he or she is planning on changing his or her name in at least two newspapers of regular circulation. These newspapers must serve the area that the petitioner lives. This advertisement provides the date of the hearing and gives anyone that may have an interest in the name change an opportunity to object.
Once all of these steps are complied with and if the Judge finds no legitimate reason to deny it, he will approve the change of name and the name will be changed legally. If you are interested in changing your legal name following a divorce, for professional reasons, or for any other reason, contact my Pittsburgh legal firm, Gusty A. E. Sunseri & Associates, for help. As you can tell from the process outlined above, there are numerous steps that an attorney can handle for you to make the procedure much easier.