2Amending Title 54 (Names) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated
3Statutes, in judicial change of name, further providing for
4court approval required for change of name.

5The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
6hereby enacts as follows:

7Section 1. Section 701(a.1) of Title 54 of the Pennsylvania
8Consolidated Statutes is amended to read:

9§ 701. Court approval required for change of name.

10* * *

11(a.1) Procedure.--

12(1) An individual must file a petition in the orphans' 
13court division of the court of common pleas of the county in
14which the individual resides. If a petitioner is married, the
15petitioner's spouse may join as a party petitioner, in which
16event, upon compliance with the provisions of this
17subsection, the spouse shall also be entitled to the benefits
18of this subsection.

19(2) The petition must set forth all of the following:

1(i) The intention to change the petitioner's name.

2(ii) The reason for the name change.

3(iii) The current residence of petitioner.

4(iv) Any residence of the petitioner for the five
5years prior to the date of the petition.

6(v) If the petitioner requests the court proceed
7under paragraph (3)(iii).

8(3) Upon filing of the petition, the court shall do all
9of the following:

10(i) Set a date for a hearing on the petition. The
11hearing shall be held not less than one month nor more
12than three months after the petition is filed.

13(ii) Except as provided in subparagraph (iii), by
14order, direct that notice be given of the filing of the
15petition and of the date set for the hearing on the
16petition and that the notice be treated as follows:

17(A) Published [in two newspapers of general
18circulation in the county where the petitioner
19resides or a county contiguous to that county. One of
20the publications may be in the official paper for the
21publication of legal notices in the county.] on the 
22publicly accessible Internet website of the orphans' 
23court division of the court of common pleas as 
24provided by the petitioner to the clerk of the 
25orphans' court along with any information required by 
26general rule of court.

27(B) Given to any nonpetitioning parent of a
28child whose name may be affected by the proceedings.

29(iii) If the court finds that the notice required in
30subparagraph (ii) would jeopardize the safety of the

1person seeking the name change or his or her child or
2ward, the notice required shall be waived by order of the
3court. Upon granting the request to waive any notice
4requirement, the court shall seal the file. In all cases
5filed under this paragraph, whether or not the name
6change petition is granted, there shall be no public
7access to any court record of the name change petition,
8proceeding or order, unless the name change is granted
9but the file is not sealed. The records shall only be
10opened by order of the court in which the petition was
11granted based upon a showing of good cause or at the
12applicant's request.

13(4) At the hearing, the following apply:

14(i) Any person having lawful objection to the change
15of name may appear and be heard.

16(ii) The petitioner must present to the court [all
17of the following:

18(A) Proof of publication of the notice under
19paragraph (3)(ii) unless petitioner requested the
20court proceed under paragraph (3)(iii) and the court
21granted the request.

22(B) An] an official search of the proper offices
23of the county where petitioner resides and of any
24other county where petitioner has resided within five
25years prior to filing the petition showing that there
26are no judgments, decrees of record or other similar
27matters against the petitioner. This [clause]
28subparagraph may be satisfied by a certificate given
29by a corporation authorized by law to make the search
30under this [clause] subparagraph.

1(5) The court may enter a decree changing the name as
2petitioned if the court is satisfied after the hearing that
3there is no lawful objection to the granting of the petition.

4* * *

5Section 2. This act shall take effect in 60 days.