Kristine W. Holt, Esq. attorney for name change in Philadelphia Pennsylvania and New Jersey PA NJ


Bankruptcy and
Debt Relief

Divorce, Custody
and Support

Domestic Partnerships and Civil Unions Formation and Separation

Wills, Power of Attorney, Trusts, Living Wills, Medical Power of Attorney and Authorizations

Probate and Other Estate Matters

Name Changes
Adults and Minors

Municipal and Small Claims Court

Real Estate Conveyances and Partition of Property

Small Business and Incorporation

Administrative and Appellate Proceedings

Name Changes, Purchase Agreement Reviews,. Real Estate Closings, Name Change Flat Fees

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Name changes -- The Law Offices of Kristine W. Holt handles name change cases for a flat fee, which includes all filing fees, publication, service and judgment search costs. 

Pennsylvania and New Jersey both provide for a personal change of name through court intervention.  Pennsylvania also still recognizes name change by way of common usage. 

In each state, the name change process begins by filing a complaint or petition with the court in the county the individual lives in.  There the similarities end.  In Pennsylvania, the petitioner also submits a fingerprint card completed by the State Police, which is used by the court for a criminal background search.  Subsequent to filing, the court will schedule a hearing date to hear the petitioner's plea.  The time between the filing and the hearing is when additional paperwork in completed. Pennsylvania requires a judgment search from all the different jurisdictions the petitioner has lived in within the past five years.  Usually, the court only requires a general civil judgment search but, depending on the county, additional searches, such as from the Family Court, Orphans Court, etc., may be needed.  In Mew Jersey, notice of the hearing must be sent to the District Attorney and the Attorney General, if there are any criminal issues in the petitioner's background.  Both Pennsylvania and New Jersey require pre-hearing newspaper publications: Pennsylvania requires two publications, one each in a local newspaper and the county legal journal; New Jersey requires one in a local newspaper.  Pennsylvania law also has provisions for waiver of the publication requirement if, upon motion to the court, the petitioner can demonstrate that such publication might endanger their safety. 

Most counties in Pennsylvania and New Jersey require the petitioner to appear for a hearing and give testimony as to why they want to change their name.  The hearing also gives anyone who would object to the name change the opportunity to express their position.  Once the hearing is adjourned, the judge issues an order granting the petition.  In Pennsylvania, this is the end of the process.  In New Jersey, another publication of the order is required, and certified notice of the order must be send to the State Treasurer.  Once proofs of these requirements are filed with the court, the order becomes final.

Name change petitions for children are similar to those for adults, but generally differ in the notice requirements.

Purchase Agreement Reviews -- It goes without saying that buying a house is a serious, long-term commitment.  When agreeing to purchase a home, it is important to know that you are entering into a contract that complies fully with state law and which is in your best interest.  However, many Purchase Agreements are prepared by non-attorney realtors and brokers, who may or may not have your best interests in mind.  For this reason, New Jersey provides for a three-day "attorney review" period for broker prepared contracts, during which time the purchaser can have their attorney review the agreement and explain all the terms of the agreement and point out any provisions that may not work toward the purchaser's best interest.  If the purchaser chooses not to seek an attorney review, the agreement becomes binding at the end of three days.  However, if the attorney gives notice of disapproval to the seller, then the agreement is void.

In Pennsylvania, there is no attorney review period for purchase agreements, so it is even more important to have an attorney review the document before you sign it!    

Real Estate Closings -- The Law Offices of Kristine W. Holt can provide representation at closings on real estate property purchases.  Such representation is useful to ensure that the deed provided by the title company is worded correctly and that last minute changes to mortgage documents, HUD statements, and other documents do not work to your disadvantage. 


The legal discussions presented on this website are for informational purposes only,
and are not intended to be used as legal advice for your particular situation.

All original content © 2012 Kristine W. Holt