Parents and legal guardians may need to change the names of their children, or minors in their custody, for many legal and social reasons. In Ohio, if you need to modify a minor's name due to adoption, child support proceedings, religious reasons or other issues, you must file a petition at the county probate court where you reside. Costs for name changes vary by county.
Request a Petition for Change of Name of Minor packet from the county court clerk in your area. A list of links to the state's county courts is available on the website of the Ohio Judicial System. Either a parent or legal or temporary guardian can request the name change. The packet includes an Application for Name Change of Minor, a Consent to Change of Name of Minor, a Name Change Application Supplemental Affidavit, a Judgment Entry Setting Hearing and Ordering Notice, a Consent to Change of Name, an Affidavit for Unknown Address of a Parent, a Notice to Parent, a Certification of Judgment Entry and several hearing notice forms. Some counties offer a download of the packet online.
Read More: Changing a Child's Name in Ohio
Obtain a certified copy of the minor's birth certificate to include with the petition from the Ohio Department of Public Health if you do not have one already. You must submit this along with your name change forms.
Fill out the name change application. It requests the names of the parents and minor, proposed name and reason for the name change request. Fill out the Consent to Change of Name of Minor form in front of a notary public or the court clerk. Each parent must fill this out to give permission for the name change.
Fill out the Affidavit for Unknown Address if the other parent or guardian could not be found. You must follow the state's rules for attempting to find the absent parent before filing a petition packet and include the details of this search on the affidavit. Ohio requires you to contact the other parent's relatives, friends, last known employers, doctors and state's child support enforcement agency.
Sign the Supplemental Affidavit in front of a notary public or the court clerk. This document is your sworn statement that all of the information on your application is true.
Submit your application to the probate court. The court will complete the hearing and order notice with a date for you to appear before a judge. The court will send out hearing notice forms to the other parents and legal guardians with the court date information. You will also receive a copy. The date will be no earlier than 45 days after you file your application. During this period you must submit a notice for name change to the legal section of a local newspaper 30 days before the hearing date per Ohio law. Your name change request will be denied if you skip this step. The newspaper will give you an Affidavit in Proof of Publication and you will submit this along with the newspaper clipping of your legal notice in court.
Go the county clerk's office on the date of your hearing. When you enter the courtroom, submit your documents to the magistrate on duty and answer any questions they ask about your petition. A judge will rule on your application and sign the Certification of Judgment Entry.
Obtain certified copies of the Certification of Judgment Entry from the court clerk. Mail or submit a copy in person to the local vital statistics office of the Ohio Department of Health.
The court will deny your petition if it determines you are attempting to change the name for fraudulent or other unlawful reasons.
Make sure to apply for a replacement Social Security card for your child and inform the child's school, your insurance company, doctor and other institutions of the name change.
Some counties have residence requirements for children who are getting their name changed. For example, in Hamilton County, the child must live in the county for a year before a parent can request a name change.
- Hamilton County Probate Court: Name Change For A Minor
- The Supreme Court of Ohio and the Ohio Judicial System: Ohio Trial Courts & Local Rules
- Ohio Department of Public Health: Vital Records (Birth, Death, Marriage, and Divorce)
- Probate Court of Lake County, Ohio: Application for Name Change of Minor
Lauren Miller has more than 10 years of experience as a writer and editor. Her articles on technology, small business and legal topics have appeared in magazines, newspapers and trade journals. She has a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy and is an avid gardener and sports fan.