How Do I Legally Change My Name in Ohio?

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The methods for requesting a name change in Ohio vary depending on the reasons for the name change. It’s a quicker process to change a name because of marriage or divorce than it is to change a name for other reasons. Name changes outside of marriage are handled in Ohio’s Probate Court and can take 30 days to several months to become final.

TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read)

Someone seeking a name change in Ohio that isn't the result of a marriage or divorce can petition the Ohio probate court. After filing a petition and paying the fee, the court will issue a hearing date for the name change.

Reasons for Name Changes

In addition to marriage and divorce, people change their names for a variety of reasons. For example, children might change their names to reflect an adoption by a new parent. People who also are applying for a gender marker change might also make a name change to reflect that new gender. Sometimes people don’t want their names associated with a notorious or famous relative or simply don’t like their given name. Regardless of the reasons, anyone can apply for a name change providing they are over 18 and aren’t trying to get out of a debt or evade legal authorities. Parents or legal guardians can change the name on a minor's behalf as long as both parents consent.

How to Make a Name Change in Ohio

A woman who would like to take her husband's name after marriage can make the request when filling out the marriage license form. The name change request is filed at the same time as the marriage license, and the certified marriage certificate can be used as proof to change a name on an Ohio state ID, driver’s license and Social Security card. Unfortunately, it may not be so easy for a man who wishes to change his name after marriage. A man who wants to take his spouse's name or hyphenate his last name may need to file a petition with the probate court for a name change. Men should check with the local probate court to learn the procedure for a particular district. In the event of a divorce, a woman can change back to any past name by including the name change request with her divorce petition. The judge will grant the name change and divorce at the same time.

People seeking a name change outside of marriage or divorce can do so by filing a petition with the Ohio probate court. Ohio state law requires the petitioner to live in the state for at least one year. The petitioner also has to list the reasons for the name change on the application and attest that they are not seeking a name change for fraudulent reasons. They must divulge any criminal activity and sex offender status. Sex offenders and people hoping to change their name to avoid paying debts or criminal prosecution aren’t allowed to change their names in Ohio.

Name Change Announcements

After filing the name change petition, the clerk will give the petitioner a case number and hearing date. Petitioners must announce their name change in a local county newspaper at least 30 days before the hearing date. The announcement must include the present and proposed names, the reasons for the name change and the hearing date and location. The public announcement is meant to determine if anyone has an objection to the name change. If no one objects, the petitioner’s name change hearing can proceed.



About the Author

Deb Ng is a freelance writer and published author with over 17 years of experience in creating content for the web. Prior to her freelance career, she worked for over 12 years in traditional (print) publishing. Deb's has an interest in legal matters and has been writing content for websites such as Legal Zoom, Wiley Publishing, and Pfizer Pharmaceuticals for over ten years.