NAME CHANGES

A name change for an adult is a fairly simple process. It is often done without the assistance of an attorney. The same is true for a name change of a minor child, assuming no one (such as the other parent) contests the name change. If you’ve been a resident of your county for at least one year, you can apply for a name change for yourself or for your minor child.

Most probate courts have name change paperwork available, usually on the court website or by request. In Franklin County the forms can be downloaded from the court’s website at www.franklincountyohio.gov/probate. Once you have filled out the forms, you will pay for the application at the cashier window. After that, the application will be set for hearing approximately 45 days from the application date. Applicants must appear in court with picture identification. The applicant must publish notice of the application in a local newspaper of general circulation 30 days prior to the hearing date.

A minor name change is slightly more complicated but can typically be done without the assistance of an attorney unless it is being contested. In addition to the steps outlined above, the applicant must bring a certified copy of the child’s birth certificate. The applicant for the name change of a minor must obtain the consent of the minor’s parents. If consent has not been given, a notice of hearing must be given to the non-consenting parents. Notice is usually given by certified mail, available at any local post office, and the green certified mail return receipt must be filed with the court. Consent must be obtained or notice given to anyone who could be considered a parent of the child.

At the hearing with the probate court the magistrate will question the applicant and witnesses and review the information in the case file before rendering his or her decision.
If the name change is for a minor, the magistrate also will determine if both parents have consented to it. The consent of both parents is not always necessary for approval, but a magistrate will decide, after reviewing all the facts, if the name change is in the minor’s best interest and is reasonable and proper.

After the name change is approved by the probate court, the applicant should make a list of all the creditors, agencies, schools, financial institutions, employers, and government offices that need to be notified of the new name. Making a thorough list and then notifying everyone on the list helps ensure that everyone is informed of the name change.
If the applicant was born in Ohio, and if the approved name change is substantially different from the name that is on the applicant’s birth certificate or is for a minor, notice should be given to the Ohio Department of Health, Division of Vital Statistics. Sending a certified copy of the entry changing the name should be sufficient for most institutions. The court will provide the applicant four certified copies of the entry changing the name to be sent to various agencies. Additional certified copies cost $1 each. The name change entry from this court does not change an Ohio birth certificate. However, the name change entry does become part of the person’s birth records if they were born in Ohio.