Name Change Lawyer Bucks County

Your name is both a piece of your identity and how people and agencies are able to identify you. This makes changing one’s name an impactful process. The Court is wary of the reason for one’s changing their name, thus the process is accordingly stringent. Legitimate reasons for requesting a Name Change are usual based on marital status, though there are others. The Court has different standards for adults and children. Given the potential for abuse by adults, this seems only logical. However, ultimately, the decision is that of the Court. In order to best persuade the Court you should hire counsel to assist you in explaining your position.

Adult Name Change

The reason for your Name Change is crucial. For instance, a common reason like divorce is easily provided for, as there are forms available at the Prothonotary’s office, and a minimal fee to this end. However, the Court may be less amicable with respect to other rationales.

The reason for this is that adults may seek to change their name with more nefarious motivations such as to avoid credit issues, hide a criminal past, or abuse in future criminal endeavors. Accordingly, the Court requires a petition to be submitted and a background check to follow. Additionally, notification of the desired name change must be published in two general circulations in order to alert the community and allow for potential objection.

Minor Name Change

If both birth-parents consent to a Name Change for a young child, the Court will likely abide by their wishes. However, in the event of contention, the Court will look to “the best interest of the child” in making its determination. The Court looks to these factors:

  • (1) The existing and future relationship between parent and child. Will the change of name negatively impact the relationship? What is the nature of the child’s relationship with the parent’s extended family? Has the parent been a mainstay in the child’s life? Does the parent have a history of visitation? Have child support payments been maintained?
  • (2) The nature of a name within a community. Would changing the child’s name protect the child from the bad reputation of a parent within the community? Would changing the child’s name prevent embarrassment or school problems?
  • (3) The child’s age and ability to understand the significance of a Name Change. Is the child of an age (i.e. young child vs teenager) in which they can appreciate the meaning of changing their name? Is it apparent that the petitioning parent is using the child against the other parent? How much weight should the desires of the child be afforded?

The Process

This is a general summary of what must be done. However, as with any legal proceeding, additional issues may present and should be handled by counsel.

  • Step 1: The Petition The petition must contain (1) the petitioner’s desire and intention to change their name, (2) the reason for the name change, (3) the petitioner’s current residence, (4) the petitioner’s five-year residential history, and (5) petitioner’s fingerprints.
  • Step 2: Publication Notice must be provided to the community via publication in at least two local circulations. Evidence of publication must be available to be produced to the Court at a hearing.
  • Step 3: Proof of Financial Standing An adult petitioner must secure a judgment/lien check; completed, signed, and sealed by the Prothonotary’s office. This is necessary given the Court’s concern regarding potentially sinister motivations of petitioners.
  • Step 4: Background check and Service The non-petitioning parent of a child must be notified of the Name Change request. With respect to adults, petitioners must be fingerprinted, and a background check must be completed.
  • Step 5: The Hearing The Court will hear petitioner’s reasons for requesting a name change, and make a final determination at a hearing.
  • Why Do I Need a Lawyer?

    Counsel can assist you in navigating the complicated waters of the legal system, and ensure that you have taken the appropriate steps towards securing a change of name. The lawyers with The Law Offices of Greg Prosmushkin, P.C. can help. Call today to schedule an entirely free consultation.

    This content was written on behalf of Greg Prosmushkin.