The names we use are important. In the most basic sense, names define who we are. We interact with the rest of society by identifying ourselves with names. When a person wants to change his or her name, that person is wise to ensure that all of the proper Pennsylvania name change procedures are followed, so that the change is accomplished with a minimum of hassle.
The primary purpose of the Pennsylvania Judicial Change of Name Statute, other than with regard to minor children, is to prohibit fraud by people who may be attempting to avoid their financial obligations. Therefore, PA courts take special precautions before they will allow names to be changed. In matters involving a name change, the court should make sure that the proposed name comports with good sense, common decency, and fairness both to the parties and to the public. It is a good idea to have professional legal help to change your name, because if you are found to have changed your name for the purpose of avoiding payment of taxes or other debts, you can be charged with a summary criminal offense.
In Pennsylvania, it is unlawful for any person to assume a name different from the name by which such person is and has been known, unless such change in name is made by the court after a Name Change Petition. Nevertheless, a person may adopt and use any name as long as the name is used consistently, nonfraudulently and exclusively, and as long as the change is not prohibited by the Name Change Law. For instance, convicted felons may not be eligible to change their names.
People who are or who are about to be divorced may change their names to any last name they have formerly used by filing a written notice with the clerk of the court in which the divorce action was filed or the decree of divorce was entered. This document is called a Praecipe to Retake Maiden Name. Whenever the parent of a minor child or adopted minor child has his or her name changed by the court, a child then who is under the care of that parent will usually take the parent's new last name automatically.
Pennsylvania corporations may change their names by filing Articles of Amendment. However, the courts will not permit the change of a business name when the proposed new name would tend to create confusion in the public mind with the name of another and older corporation which opposes the change.
The lawyers of Wolf, Baldwin & Associates, P.C. can help with your name change. We have experience filing Name Change Petitions in Montgomery County, Berks County, and Chester County. Please consider the attorneys at Wolf, Baldwin & Associates, P.C. when you need legal assistance. Click here to contact us today. We will be happy to help you with a legal name change.
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