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In Pennsylvania can I change my married last name back to my maiden name without filing for divorce?

Benton, PA |

I am still legally married. How can I legally change back to my maiden name? I want to throw up every time I have to say or write the last name of the idiot I married. We've been separated for over a year and I use my maiden name except when I legally can't. I'm also broke thanks to him, so if you can include any information on the cheapest or free ways I'd appreciate that as well. Thank you.

Attorney Answers 3

  1. You will normally be told that you can file a name change when you obtain a divorce (and at least in some counties that filing is free). That's true, but in fact the law states that you may use whatever name you choose for any legal purposes. There was no legal requirement that you take his last name when you married, so there is no legal requirement that you continue to use it. The law never changed your name, you only followed a custom, not a requirement.

    You can file a petition in your local county to have a name change, without the divorce filing, but each county's fees are different. The decision the judge would make may also be affected by your not having filed for divorce yet.

    For the most part, you may simply rely on the fact that the law allows you to use your maiden name for any legal purpose. You don't need any legal paperwork for that for most things.

  2. Your county domestic relations office probably has a petition for you to do this as a pro se litigant. If not, an attorney can help you for relatively cheap. You should consult with one about the procedure and their pricing for this as well as a divorce.

    Good luck,
    PS: Please mark this as a best answer if it is most helpful to you.

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  3. In addition to the previous attorneys suggestions, you can also have your current attorney (if you have one) file the petition at any time. Assuming you are current with you bill, your current attorney should be your first stop. If you do not have an attorney, you can retain one solely for the purpose of a name change. It is usually relatively cheap and can be done as a flat fee. I wish you the best of luck,

    Ashley L., Folio, Esquire
    Folio & Associates, LLC
    401 Shady Avenue
    Suite D807
    Pittsburgh, PA 15206

    The response does not form an attorney-client relationship. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the person asking the question. Attorney is licensed to practice law only in the State of Pennsylvania. Responses are based solely on Pennsylvania law unless stated otherwise.

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