Changing a Child's Name in Ohio

by Tom Streissguth

    The state of Ohio allows you to petition for a change of legal name for a minor child. The process involves the filing of a petition in the county court where the child resides. There are few restrictions, and the state allows the change for any reason a parent or legal guardian deems sufficient, including religious beliefs. However, Ohio law bars any name changes for fraudulent purposes.

    Step 1

    Obtain an Ohio Petition for Change of Name for Minor. This form is available from the clerk of your county court. It is also available online at several sites that offer legal forms; you simply download, print and fill out the form, or fill it out online and then print it. Obtain a certified copy of the child's birth certificate.

    Step 2

    Fill out the petition with the requested information. This includes the former and proposed legal name, the child's birth date and place, residence, parents' names and the reason for the name change. You may also make declarations on the petition to the court.

    Step 3

    Sign the petition. You must declare, under penalty of perjury, that you are the parent or legal guardian and are the one who completed the form. There is a space for a second petitioner, if required. You must also have the form notarized. Bring the form to a notary public, present identification and sign the form in the presence of the notary.

    Step 4

    Bring the petition, your photo ID and the certified birth certificate to the county court where the child resides. File the petition with the court clerk. You must pay a filing fee, which varies by county. The clerk will date-stamp the petition and enter it into the court record, at which point your petition becomes a public document.

    Step 5

    Receive a notice of hearing by certified mail from the clerk. The hearing will be scheduled so that a judge or court magistrate may review your petition with you and any legal parent or guardian, including a non-consenting parent. The magistrate or judge will hear any arguments from a non-consenting parent and then make a decision on whether to allow the name change.

    Step 6

    Receive certified copies of the Journal Entry Changing Name, which is the legal acknowledgement that the child's name change has been accepted by the court. Notify the Ohio Department of Health, Vital Statistics Division, who will append the notice to the Division's copy of the child's birth certificate if the child was born in Ohio.

    Tips & Warnings

    • You or the child must be a resident of the county for at least twelve months before filing a Petition for Name Change.
    • Some counties require the publication of the Petition for Name Change, meaning you must place a classified ad in a local paper before the hearing takes place. Publication costs are in addition to filing fees.
    • Children under a minimum age do not have to attend the hearing. In Montgomery County, for example, that age is six. Check your county court's website or contact the clerk to verify the current rules.
    • You must notify the other natural parent of the proposed name change, or provide an affidavit and explain to the magistrate or judge why you could not. A non-consenting parent has the right to appear at the hearing and raise objections to the proposed name change; if you have failed to notify any natural parent or legal guardian, the court may reject your petition.

    About the Author

    Tom Streissguth has worked for over 15 years in the legal field as a writer and legal assistant, and has authored numerous articles on Social Security disability law. He has many nonfiction and reference titles in print, including works for The Gale Group and Lerner. He holds a Bachelor of Arts from Yale University.

    Photo Credits

    • Creatas/Creatas/Getty Images