Thursday, August 22, 2013

How to file an Uncontested Change of Minor's Name in Montgomery County, PA - specifically in Abington

UPDATED - October 22, 2013

Let me start by saying as I go through this process I will update this post so check back often. :)

My daughter has her father's last name, since he has never had anything to do with her as she became older she made the request to have her last name changed. I've put it off for a long time, she is now 17 I think the first time she asked she was about 13 years old. The process always seemed daunting, expensive and very time consuming. 

My sister got married recently, her husband did something very unconventional - he changed his last name and then they went through the process of changing their son's last name. I quizzed my sister about the process but then got tired of waiting to get the info I needed.

So I started doing research, searching the web, calling the Prothonotary office in Montgomery County. The first call only frustrated me more than anything, I was told the forms I needed were on their site...nope, not true, every other form was available but not a form for changing a minor's last name. So back to Google I went where I found a blog from a women in my county who went through the process last year. So I thank The Dusty Cellar for helping me through this process. While she was pretty detailed in her steps and very clear she was not offering legal advice just the steps they went through to get a name changed for a child it went a long way to get me started in the process.

I would like to elaborate on this process since I still had to make several phone calls to find out exactly how to get this done however I would not have known where to start without the other blog. So this is NOT legal advice but my process on an Uncontested Minor Name Change along with the forms needed (upon request - there is only one signature line as I am a single mom, another will need to be added as both parent must sign).

One of the best pieces of information I received was that I can file the Petition at the Willow Grove Annex instead of going to the court house in Norristown. The Annex then submits the petition to the court house.

First I must say there are three forms needed up front, a fingerprint card and the filing fee. After all is said and done the estimated cost of changing a minor's name is $300 - $400 dollars depending on how many certified copies of the court order is needed and what documents need to be reissued, in my case we need a new passport for my daughter ($110).

Steps to take...

Fingerprint card: Any minor over the age of 13 needs a fingerprint card which you can get from the local police station. Call or check out their site online to see if there is a charge, Abington Police charges $20 for the first card and $10 for the second. The minor will need to bring a valid ID. I suggest doing this first simply because the police station has very specific times when the printing is done, fitting it into my schedule took some doing.

Forms needed: create the forms needed, Petition for Change of Name of a Minor, Order for Hearing and an Order for Publication. I have them in template form in Microsoft Word if someone would like them (email and I can send them - I couldn't figure out a way to post them in a usable format). The Petition needs to be notarized, the other two forms have blanks on them, leave them blank until needed. You will also need a money order or cash for $136 (there is a fee schedule on the site that is updated yearly - Fee Schedule).

Petition for Change of Name of a Minor: this is simply a letter laying out the reason for the name change, the old and the new name along with current address, if less than 5 years at that address previous addresses are required. If you have not lived in Montgomery County for at least 5 years a search must be done in the previous county.

Order for Hearing: this letter is basically a form with blanks to be filled in once the hearing is set.

Order for Publication: this letter is a form letter to be used once the hearing is set and sent to the Montgomery County Law Reporter ($86 fee) and the largest publication in the area, here it is the Intelligencer ($130 fee). I have only found out that you must publish 30 days BEFORE your hearing date. If not you will need to change your court date, as I had to, because the notice was not published. Also, try a smaller paper, they charge less. I was advised to call The Reporter..have not yet called.

8/22 - UPDATE: Yesterday I went to the Willow Grove Annex, at 102 York Rd, to file the paperwork for the name change. Turns out there is another form needed, don't know if this can be take in with you or if they need to give it to you. It is a verification form, it's basically saying the statements you are making in the petition are true and you be could be fined if they find out otherwise. I was in and out in less than 15 minutes but I did go just as they opened at 9am.

The Hearing: - It was originally set for October 23rd however I had to change it the week before the hearing because of the publication issue. I did not publish 30 days prior to the court date.

Changing Records: school, doctor's, social security card, birth certificate, passport, state ID, etc. Contact the issuing state for the birth certificate; there is typically a fee and a form to be completed. You will also need to send in a certified copy of the court order changing the minor's name. Social security is free, the form is fairly straight forward - info found here...SSA Name Change Info. Just realized health insurance, and my daughter is also the beneficiary on my life insurance policy both at work and my private policy, those will need to be changed as well. I better start keeping a list. :)

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Alex's Lemonade Stand on September 7th!!

Alex's Lemonade Stand is an organization near and dear to my heart. September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and to honor this, raise money for Alex's Lemonade Stand and promote local small businesses there is a Vendor and Craft Show being held on September 7th...check out below for details.

Norcom Community Center
10980 Norcom Rd
Philadelphia, PA 19154

Come out and support a most worthwhile charity and local small businesses. Raffels, Zumba, face painting, glitter art, and much, much more...

How do you move on when there is nowhere to go?

I don't mean move on like you do from a broken relationship. How do you move on from a job that you semi like, which is more than some can say, to another when there are no opportunities? 

Do you stay in an almost dead end position or do you jump in head first and pray for the best? I say almost dead end position because as of right now there are only two places to go outside and / or my boss' position; neither of which I want.

So then the question becomes if you jump where to go? New position / company possibly making less money, start a company and hope it takes off like a rocket and stays the course or start the company but with a partner?

These are all questions that run through my head each and every day, several times a day. I am grateful for the position / job that I have however like most others on the planet I wonder if there is something better, more challenging, more rewarding. Maybe volunteer work is the best choice at this point in time...