Changing a Child's Name in Ohio

By Larissa Bodniowycz, J.D.

Changing a Child's Name in Ohio

By Larissa Bodniowycz, J.D.

Changing a minor's name in Ohio is slightly more complicated than changing an adult's name, but it can be done if you follow the proper legal steps. You can change your child's name for almost any reason, as long as you are not doing so for an illegal or fraudulent purpose. Generally, you need to file an application in your county's probate court and get the consent of both parents.

Woman holding baby and working on a laptop

In order to change your child's name, your child must have lived in Ohio—specifically in the county where you are applying for the name change—for at least one year prior to petitioning for a name change. Below is a list of steps to help you through the process.

1. File the application.

First, prepare an application for a name change with information such as your child's current name, the new name, and the reasons for seeking a name change. You will also need a certified copy of your child's birth certificate to show to the court. If both parents consent, each should sign the application and sign a Consent to Change of Name Form. Many counties require that the application and the consent form be notarized. Check with your local probate court for specific requirements.

Once complete, file the application with your county's probate court along with the required filing fee. Fees vary depending on your county. The court will then set a hearing date for your application.

2. Serve notice on the other parent.

If only one parent consents to the name change, the petitioning parent must give the nonconsenting parent notice of the hearing and application. This notice is required in order to allow the nonconsenting parent to object to the name change at the hearing. The notice must be sent by certified mail with a return receipt requested. If both parents consent to and file the application jointly, this step is not required.

3. Publish the application.

Under Ohio law, you need to publish notice of the name change prior to the hearing in a newspaper of general circulation in your county. The court will generally complete this task for you, and publish the application in a local newspaper 30 days before the hearing. There is an additional cost for this publication service, ranging from $30-$50.

4. Attend the hearing.

Attend your hearing. Your child may also need to attend the hearing if he or she is over the age of 6. Your application will go before a court magistrate, and the magistrate will determine whether there is proper cause to grant the name change and whether you have met all legal requirements. The magistrate will consider whether both parents have consented to the name change and whether the change is in your child's best interests. The magistrate will also hear any arguments against the name change from any nonconsenting parent.

5. Notify third parties.

Once the court has granted the name change, notify all third parties that have the child's former name of the change. For example, you will need to notify the proper authorities and obtain an updated birth certificate. If your child was born in Ohio, contact the Ohio Department of Health, Bureau of Vital Statistics to obtain an updated birth certificate. If your child was not born in Ohio, notify the analogous office for the state in which your child was born.

This portion of the site is for informational purposes only. The content is not legal advice. The statements and opinions are the expression of author, not LegalZoom, and have not been evaluated by LegalZoom for accuracy, completeness, or changes in the law.

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