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

    The Law Office of Christopher Barrett Fay, 1325 Spruce St., Philadelphia, PA 19107, chris@cfaylaw.com, (267) 519-2719, www.cfaylaw.com. LEGAL DISCLAIMER: The law changes frequently, and the material on this website is for general information purposes only and neither constitutes nor is intended to be legal advice. You should not act based upon this general information nor without seeking legal counsel regarding your specific legal matter. The outcome of every case is dependent on the specific facts and legal circumstances of each individual case. Any client reviews or attorney endorsements posted on this website are solely the opinion of that person and should not be construed as representative of the results you might expect to receive in your specific legal matter. No one can offer a review or endorsement concerning the type or quality of legal work they received in relation to the type or quality of legal work that might be done for you if you become a client of this office. This website is not advertising. This website is not an offer to represent you, which can only be made after a consultation with one of our attorneys. This website and its feature to contact us do not create an attorney-client relationship between you and The Law Office of Christopher Barrett Fay or any of its attorneys. The Law Office of Christopher Barrett Fay practices law only in the states of Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The Law Office of Christopher Barrett Fay does not intend to practice in any other jurisdictions where it is not licensed. The firm does not seek to represent anyone viewing this website in other jurisdictions, and the website may not comply with the laws and ethical rules of states other than Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Pursuant to the requirements of U.S. Treasury Regulation Circular 230, any tax advice contained in this communication (including any attachments) is not intended to be used, and cannot be used to avoid penalties imposed under the United States Internal Revenue Code or to promote, market or recommend to another person any tax-related matter.


  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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