Changing your name after a divorce is an accepted practice in every state. In Pennsylvania, any person may resume using any surname used before the marriage by filing a “Notice to Retake Prior Surname” to the Office of Prothonotary of the county that filed the divorce. A clerk of the Court of Commons, the Prothonotary records civil procedures. Fees associated with the filing of the notice vary by county. The filing procedure also varies by county. Some counties, such as Bucks County, Pennsylvania, allow filing by mail.
Contact the Office of Prothonotary in the county where the divorce was filed. Ask about the cost to file and how to obtain the “Notice to Retake Prior Surname” form. Some counties have a website with the form available for downloading along with instructions and filing fee information.
Read More: Returning to Your Maiden Name After a Divorce in Pennsylvania
Write or type the “Plaintiff,” “Defendant” and “File No.” as recorded on the divorce decree.
Fill in the day, month and year recorded on the divorce decree in the appropriate spaces.
Write the prior surname you wish to resume in the appropriate space.
Sign your current married name on the “Signature” space.
Sign the name being resumed in the “Signature of name being resumed” space.
Fill in the filing date on the “Date” space.
File the form, either in person or by mail, with the Office of the Prothonotary. The form will be certified and filed. Certified copies will be returned to you and will be required when you have your name properly changed with the Social Security Administration.
Visit the Social Security Administration website for the requirements, forms and information to change your name on your Social Security card.
Use the court document and new Social Security card to change bank records, medical records, school and employment records, insurance records and any other official records.
The form does not need a judge's review or signature.
No attorney is necessary to file the notice to retake prior surname.
Since 2008, Gertrude Cryan has been a student of research and freelance writing. Her articles have appeared on various online publications including genealogical research websites. Cryan covers a variety of topics including genealogy, software, computer hardware, mental health and volunteerism. She attended Indiana University.