Typically, people change their names when they marry or divorce. However, not everyone who wants to change their name does so because of a change in their marital status.
Perhaps your parents named you after a relative you dislike, or maybe you have always loathed the nickname people shorten your first name to as a joke. When you dislike your name or want to change it apart from a marriage or divorce, you need to take the steps outlined below.
File a petition with the courts
In Pennsylvania, individuals who want to change their names have to prove that their attempt to do so is not to avoid consequences for criminal activity. You will need to file a request with the courts providing full information about your current name, the name you want to change it to and your reason for desiring those changes.
Undergoing fingerprinting by the Pennsylvania State Police is part of the name change process so that there is a direct relationship between your old records and your new records despite the change in how the state identifies you.
Publish notice of the upcoming change
You have to notify the general public of your intention to change your name by publishing the details in two newspapers circulated in the county where you live. The only exception to this rule is when it could endanger you or your children.
Get court approval
Finally, you will have a hearing in front of the judge where you will have to present information about your background. Provided that everything is in order, the judge may then approve the name change, making your new name your legal name in Pennsylvania.
Learning more about the rules that govern family law matters like name changes can help you utilize the court system to your benefit.