Name Change For A Minor

RC 2717.01 states that an adult parent, legal guardian, or guardian ad litem of a minor desiring a name change for the minor may file an application in the county in which the minor has been a bona fide resident for one year prior to the filing.   Once all the necessary documents are filed with the Court, a hearing date will be scheduled.  The applicant must publish the application in a local newspaper of general circulation in the county in which the Court is located with publication appearing once, at least thirty (30) days prior to the hearing.  If the address of either parent is not known and with reasonable diligence cannot be determined, then the name of that parent should be included in the published notice as one of the persons being notified. 

If the publication is not completed at least thirty (30) days prior to hearing, the name change cannot be granted and re-publication will be required at additional cost and delay to the applicant.
 
The applicant for the name change of a minor should obtain the consent of both parents of the minor child.  A signed and notarized Consent to Name Change should be obtained and filed by the consenting non-applicant parent(s).  If the signed consent is not obtained, notice of the hearing must be given to the non-consenting parent(s).  If the address of a parent is unknown, the Court will require the applicant to establish by credible evidence that reasonable diligence to locate the absent parent has been exercised.  If the Court determines that reasonable diligence has not been exercised, the case will be continued or dismissed.

The minor child must be present on the day of the hearing.  

At the hearing, the Court will determine whether the name change is reasonable, proper, and in the best interest of the child.  When there has been a child support order entered that pertains to the child, the applicant must provide at the final hearing a copy of the recent payment history from the appropriate Child Support Enforcement Agency.   

The Court does not provide new birth certificates.  If the birth occurred in Ohio, the Court will forward to the Ohio Bureau of Vital Statistics a copy of the Judgment Entry approving the name change.  The Bureau does not issue a new Certificate of Live Birth (commonly referred to as a birth certificate); however, within 90 days the Bureau will issue a "Certificate of Birth" with the new name and bearing a notation that the individual's name results from a name change proceeding.  The notation will reference the name change case number.  If there are questions about the new Certificate of Birth contact may be made with the following office:
        
        Bureau of Vital Statistics
        225 Neilston St.
        P.O. Box 15098
        Columbus, OH  43215
        614-466-2531

For minors born outside Ohio, the Applicant is responsible for providing a copy of the Court’s Judgment Entry to the appropriate birth record's agency in the state of birth.

Items necessary to file a Name Change for a Minor:

  1. The minor whose name is to be changed must have been a Delaware County resident for at least one year prior to filing;
  2. Copy of Driver’s License or Government issued picture ID of the Applicant;
  3. A certified copy of the minor’s "book copy" birth certificate, not simply an abstract birth certificate (the "book copy" birth certificate has more detailed information regarding the city and county of birth which is required for these proceedings);
  4. Base court cost deposit to the Court of one hundred and four dollars ($104.00), and the publication costs paid directly to the newpaper publisher in a form acceptable to it;
  5. Proof that the applicant is the duly appointed legal guardian for the minor, or is the minor’s guardian ad litem, if the applicant is not a parent of the minor, and
  6. Complete the Probate Forms listed to the right.
  7. Provide at the time of the hearing a certified copy of the Child Support Enforcement Agency payment history, if a child support order has been entered with respect to the minor.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

The applicant must be a resident of Delaware County, Ohio for at least one year before applying to the Probate Court for a change of name for a minor (under age 18), and the minor must also have been a resident of Delaware County for at least one year.  

What is the procedure?
Ohio law permits an adult parent of a minor, a guardian of a minor, or guardian ad litem for a minor to apply to the Probate Court for a name change for the minor by filing an Application with the Court. The filing must be made in person.  After the filing of the paperwork, a hearing date will be set by the Court, generally 60 days after the filing.  At least 30 days prior to the date of hearing, the Applicant must have published a Notice of Hearing, one time in a paper of general circulation in Delaware County, Ohio.  The Applicant must assure that the proof of the publication from the newspaper is filed with the Court before the hearing.  Notice of the filing of the application and of the hearing date, place and time must be served upon any living parent of a minor who has not signed and filed a written notarized consent with the Court.  The Applicant must have a reasonable and proper reason for seeking the minor’s name change.

A newspaper with a general circulation within Delaware County may be used for the publication of the notice.  Two of those newspapers are:

The Columbus Dispatch
34 S. Third St.
Columbus, OH      43215
(614) 224-4835 

The Delaware Gazette
40 N. Sandusky St., Suite 202
Delaware, OH      43015
(740) 363-1161

The Court does not establish the costs of publication charged by the newpaper. 

The name of a minor may not be changed if the minor has been adjudicated delinquent because of an identity fraud offense, or a sexual offense that resulted in the individual being required to register as a sexual offender.  

The Court will consider evidence from the Applicant and any witness at the hearing to establish that reasonable and proper cause exists to change the name.

What Documentation is Required?
With the filing of the initial application, the Court requires photo identification from the Applicant be presented, a certified copy of the minor’s birth record, as described above, be provided, and the current names and addresses of each legal parent of the minor’s whose name is being changed.  If the name has been previously changed, then a certified copy of that instrument will also be required.  The Deputy Clerk will photocopy the original documents and return the originals to the Applicant.

If a parent is deceased, proof of the death will be required to be filed.

If there is a variation between the name on the "book copy" birth certificate and the name being changed, the Court will require that satisfactory documentary evidence be provided to explain the difference.

Are there Special Factors to be Considered for Changing a Minor’s Name?
The Court cannot determine that reasonable and proper cause exists to change the surname (the last name) of a minor, particularly when a legal parent has not filed a written consent, without making a specific finding that the change of name is also in the child’s best interest.

When making that determination, the Court will consider the following factors: (a) the effect of the change on the preservation and development of the child's relationship with each parent; (b) the identification of the child as part of a family unit; (c) the length of time that the child has used a surname; (d) the preference of the child if the child is of sufficient maturity to express a meaningful preference; (e) whether the child's surname is different from the surname of the child's residential parent; (f) the embarrassment, discomfort, or inconvenience that may result when a child bears a surname different from the residential parent; (g) parental failure to maintain contact with and support of the child; (h) and any other factor relevant to the child's best interest.  The Applicant should be prepared to provide testimony and evidence on these factors at the hearing when either living legal parent has not consented in writing.

What is the Cost?
The Applicant will be required to pay the court cost deposit when the filing is made.  The Applicant is responsible for pre-paying to the newspaper, the publisher's cost for the Notice of Hearing.  On the day of the hearing, if the change is approved, the Court provides the Applicant with four certified copies of the Court’s Judgment Entry changing the name.  If additional certified copies are requested, the Court’s additional charge for those copies must be paid.  

Is a New Birth Certificate Issued? 
The Court does not issue a new birth certificate.

If the birth occurred in Ohio, the Court will forward to the Ohio Bureau of Vital Statistics a copy of the Judgment Entry approving the name change.  The Bureau does not issue a new Certificate of Live Birth (commonly referred to as a birth certificate); however, within 90 days the Bureau will issue a "Certificate of Birth" in the new name and bearing a notation that the individual's name results from a name change proceeding.  The notation will reference the name change case number.  If there are questions about the new Certificate of Birth contact may be made with the following office:
        
        Bureau of Vital Statistics
        225 Neilston St.
        P.O. Box 15098
        Columbus, OH  43215
        614-466-2531

For minors born outside Ohio, the Applicant is responsible for providing a copy of the Court’s Judgment Entry to the appropriate agency in the state of birth.  

Who Should be Notified of the Changed Name?
After the name change is approved, the Applicant should promptly give notice that the name has been changed to financial institutions, motor vehicle bureaus, licensing agencies, employer human resources departments, educational institutions, the social security administration and other entities to which the minor’s name is relevant for benefit or beneficiary purposes. Doing so while living in the vicinity of the Court facilitates obtaining additional copies of the Judgment Entry, if that is required as part of the notification process.

Must the Court Approve the Change of Name to that Requested?
The Court has discretion to disapprove the change of name when it determines the change is being sought for purposes of fraud or deception, when it is determined that the change is against public policy, when there is not reasonable and proper cause for the change, or when it is not in the child’s best interest.

Is an Attorney required?
Many persons complete the name change process without an attorney.  However, for those situations in which there are non-consenting living parents, the use of the services of an attorney may facilitate the presentation of testimony and evidence that the Court will need to make the findings that the change is in the best interest of the child.  An attorney may also be helpful in assembling the legal documents necessary to establish the identity of the Applicant if there is a foreign birth, adoption, or previous changes of name involving a child or applicant.

Deputy Clerks of the Probate Court are prohibited by Ohio law from assisting in the preparation of the required forms.

Additional information