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Name Change
Self Help - Lehigh County Court of Common Pleas

Name change in Pennsylvania is a judicial procedure which allows an individual to assume a name other than the name given at birth or adoption. If granted, the court will issue an order so the individual may prove the adoption of the new name in order to change other documents such as driver's licenses, bank accounts, and identification cards.

This informational section is for reference and research purposes. This section explains the basic forms and steps needed to legally change your name and/or the name(s) of your minor child(ren). A person must petition the court for a name change, and the court can then decide whether or not to grant it.

The form links below are available in PDF or Word format. There is no difference in the content of the forms, you may choose your preferred format. Note that when printing forms do not print on both sides.

We recommend that you use the Name Change printable checklist.

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General Instructions To Parties With No Lawyer

There are complex rules of law that everyone who comes to court must follow. You must follow these rules even though you are not a lawyer because the rules exist to provide an orderly process to reach a fair conclusion. Click here

Section 1 - Fingerprinting for Criminal Background Check
Step 1. Court Approved Fingerprint Card
  • You need a COURT APPROVED FINGERPRINT CARD to get fingerprinted for a criminal background check unless the name change is for a minor child 12 years or younger.
    • Obtain the Court Approved Fingerprint Card either by going to the Office of Court Administration located in room 614 of Lehigh County Courthouse, or by calling (610) 782-3014 and requesting that a fingerprint card be mailed to you.
Step 2. Get Fingerprinted
  • Take the Court Approved Fingerprint Card to a State Police Station or your local Municipal Police Department in Lehigh County and request to be fingerprinted.
  • Be prepared to pay a fee; there may be a charge for this service depending on the Police Department.
  • The Police Department will complete the fingerprint card, fingerprint you and return the card to you.
Section 2 - Form Preparation
Step 1. Form preparation

Complete the following forms in order and print one (1) copy of each form:

  • Form 1 - Civil Cover Sheet: pdf
  • Form 2 - Petition for Name Change: pdf | MS Word

Step 2. Signature

Sign and date all printed copies of the completed forms from Step 1 that require your signature

Section 3 - Request for hearing date
  • Take the following items to the Office of Court Administration located in room 614 of the Lehigh County Courthouse:
    • Completed and signed Civil Cover Sheet (form 1) and Petition for Name Change (form 2)
    • Completed Court Approved Fingerprint Card
  • Give the Petition for Name Change (form 2) to an employee of the Office of Court Administration. They will schedule your hearing, complete and give you an Order for Publication and return your paperwork to you.
Section 4 - Filing

  • Take the following items to the Clerk of Judicial Records located in room 122 of Lehigh County Courthouse:
    • All paperwork and the completed COURT APPROVED FINGERPRINT CARD.
    • Cash or Credit/Debit Card to cover filling fees; no personal checks will be accepted. For filing fees see Action at Law or Equity in the Civil fee Schedule
  • Give all paperwork to the Clerk. The Clerk will date and time stamp the original and all copies. The Clerk will keep the original documents and the copies will be returned to you.
    • Keep one (1) copy for your records
    • One (1) copy for the Clerk of Judicial Records - Deeds Division (Section 5)
    • If the petitioner seeks to change the name of a minor child and only one parent joins in the petition and you can not obtain a notarized written consent from the other parent, you will need two (2) additional copies, one (1) to send by certified mail and one (1) to send by regular mail.

Minor Child

If the petitioner seeks to change the name of a minor child and only one parent joins in the petition, then the petitioning parent must do one of the following:

  • Go to the post office and send the date and time stamped photocopy of the Petition for Name Change and Order for Publication to the other parent at their last known address by both regular mail and certified mail, return receipt requested
     
    Or
     
  • Obtain a written, notarized consent from the other parent.
    Here is a sample consent form: pdf | MS Word

Section 5 - Notice of Publication

Notice of publication must be in typewritten form and must be published at least thirty (30) days before your scheduled hearing date. Publish your notice in the Lehigh County Law Journal and the Morning Call immediately after filing. The Lehigh County Law Journal is only published weekly and the deadline is Tuesday by noon.

Step 1. Lehigh County Law Journal

Take or mail the following items to the Lehigh County Bar Association located at 1114 Walnut Street, Allentown, PA 18102

  • One typed Notice. Use the following sample notice.
  • Payment, see website for charges. http://www.lehighbar.org/LAWJOURNALRATESHEET.html Accepted methods of payment are:
    • In person, cash, check, money order and credit/debit card except American Express.
    • By mail, check or money order.
  • Affidavit (proof of publication) will be sent to you after the notice has been published. There is an additional charge for this affidavit, please make sure you include this charge in your payment.

Step 1. The Morning Call

  • All requests for publication must be typewritten and sent by one of the following:
    • Mail:
      • Advertising Call Center TT-1700
        435 N Michigan Avenue
        Chicago, IL 60611

    • Email: legalads@mcall.com
    • Fax: 610 820-675
  • The Morning Call will contact you to setup payment arrangements.
  • Make sure you receive a Affidavit (proof of publication)

Section 6 - Name Change Certification

  • You need a Name Change Certification documenting the existence of any recorded mortgages from the Clerk of Judicial Records - Deeds Division located in room 122 of the Lehigh County Courthouse.
    • Take one date and time stamped photocopy of the Name Change paperwork to the Clerk of Judicial Records-Deeds Division and request a Name Change Certification
  • Pick up the completed Name Change Certification the day of your hearing at the Clerk of Judicial Records - Deeds Division. You will need to bring with you either cash or a check to cover the Name Change Certification charge. Take this document to your hearing.

Section 6 - Hearing

  • Dress appropriately. The Court recommends that you dress as if you were attending a formal interview.
  • Arrive 15 minutes before your scheduled hearing.
  • Take the following items with you to the Courthouse:
    • One Affidavit proving publication in the Lehigh County Law Journal
    • One Affidavit proving publication in the Morning Call
    • Name Change Certification from the Clerk of Judicial Records - Deeds Division
      • Remember to pick this document up the day of your hearing.
      • Take with you either cash or a check to cover the Name Change Certification charge.
    • If the petitioner seeks to change the name of a minor child and only one parent joins in the petition, then the petitioning parent must bring the following to court:
      • A written, notarized consent from the other parent, or
      • The returned green post card (Domestic Return Receipt Form 3811), or
      • The returned envelope, unopened with green card attached.
  • Check in with Court Staff at assigned Courtroom.

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We recommend that you use the Name Change printable checklist.

Disclaimer
The forms and instructions that are available from this website are not a substitute for professional legal advice. Court employees cannot give you legal advice or help you fill out /complete the forms. It is your responsibility to read and complete the forms and to take required steps to file and serve the documents. If you decide to use these forms in an actual action, be prepared to spend appropriate time gathering information, completing forms and following the Rules of Court. The Court assumes no responsibility for the use of these forms and accepts no liability for actions taken by using these documents, including reliance on the instructions and/or contents. To obtain legal advice and to insure the proper use of this material, you should contact a lawyer.

If you want to obtain the service of an attorney, but do not know whom to contact, you should visit the Lehigh Bar Association's Lawyer Referral Service website.

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