How Do I Legally Change My Name in Ohio?

By Larissa Bodniowycz, J.D.

How Do I Legally Change My Name in Ohio?

By Larissa Bodniowycz, J.D.

To legally change your name in Ohio, you have to make an in-person visit to your county's probate court. The process, unfortunately, cannot be done online. You can request a name change as long as you're not doing so to avoid debt or to avoid legal recourse. The legal system does not allow name changes for fraudulent or illegal purposes.

Ohio flags in front of a government building

Whether the process is easy or difficult depends on the reason why you want to change your name. For instance, it will be easier to change your name in the case of a marriage or divorce than if you're changing it for other reasons. If you're changing your name as a matter of preference, it may take several months for the name change to become official. Below are the steps you must follow to change your name for reasons other than marriage or divorce.

File the Paperwork

Go to your local probate court to file the petition for a name change. Make sure to bring photo identification. You will have to fill out your county's name change form and provide information about yourself as well as the reason why you want to change your name. You will also have to pay a filing fee.

It's important to note that in order to petition for a name change with the probate court, you must have lived in the state of Ohio for at least a year.

File the paperwork with the court, and make sure to get a copy of the filed form. The clerk should provide you with a hearing date for when you will appear before the court.

Publish Notice

After you file your petition with the probate court, you will need to “publish" your name change. This entails announcing your name change in a local county newspaper at least 30 days prior to your hearing date. This publication is required to determine if there are any creditors or interested parties that have an objection to your name change.

You must include the following information in this announcement: your current name, your proposed new name, the reason you want to change your name, and the date and location of the hearing. The newspaper will likely charge a fee to publish your notice. Make sure to get proof of the publication from the newspaper; you should receive your proof of publication after the newspaper runs the notice of your name change.

Attend Your Hearing

Attend your hearing at the specified time and location. Make sure to bring the proof of publication with you. The judge will ask why you want to change your name and make sure your new name is not fraudulent or otherwise misleading. If the judge approves your request, he will issue an order approving your name change. You will need this court order to prove your name change to other government agencies.

Notify Government Agencies

You will need to update all your accounts and records to reflect your new name. Start by changing your social security card and driver's license because these forms of identification are often required to change your name on other accounts.

First, report your name change to the Social Security Administration (SSA). You will need to apply for a social security card in person or by mail. You must provide proof of your name change in the form of a certified copy of your court order.

You will next need to visit the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV). You will have to pay a fee for a new driver's license and provide proof of your name change, your social security card, and your current Ohio driver's license. Make sure to update your name with the SSA before you change your name with the BMV so it will be able to connect your new name with your social security number.

Finally, change your name on your passport, bank accounts, credit cards, car title, any leases or mortgages, and other legal documents and accounts.

If you want help with the paperwork for changing your name in Ohio, you can hire a legal services provider to prepare it for you.

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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