Name Change: Your Rights Upon Divorce or Death of a Spouse

Posted in Divorce

Divorced or Divorcing
If you are divorced or in the process of a divorce, at any time prior to or subsequent to the entry of the divorce decree, you may resume any prior surname used by you.  This includes a maiden name, or any prior married name(s). You may do so by filing a Notice of Election to Resume Prior Name in the court of common pleas in the county in which the divorce action was filed or the decree of divorce was entered.  You must sign the form using your current name (to be known as), and former name, before a Notary Public.

Surviving Spouse
If you are a surviving spouse and you wish to resume any prior surname used by you at any time, you may do so by filing a written notice in the county in which you resides with a certificate of death for the decedent.

Children of Divorced Parents
It is important to be aware that simply because you are a divorcing or divorced parent it does not give you the right to change the names of any minor children.  If you wish to change a child’s name, you must petition the court and the court will evaluate all of the circumstances to determine if the change is in the minor child’s best interest.  

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