You may come to a point in life where you feel it is time to change your name. You may have all sorts of reasons for this change. You may wish your last name to match a certain parent’s. You may be entering into a romantic partnership, but not be able to change your name efficiently along with a formal marriage. You may want a new name that matches your gender identity, or you might simply feel that your current name does not fit you. Whatever your reason, there is a legal name change process in Ohio, and the Columbus criminal attorneys at Luftman, Heck & Associates can guide you through this it efficiently.
Eligibility for a Name Change
You can change your name as an adult or for your minor child. This is a legal process controlled by Ohio Revised Code Section 2717.01 and county court rules. You must apply for a legal name change in court, follow a specific process, and have it approved and finalized by a magistrate.
Because changing your name is a legal process, you must pursue a name change in a court with jurisdiction over you and the matter. You must have lived in a county for at least one year to apply there.
How Do I Change My Name?
To change your name as an adult in Ohio, you will need to go through the probate court in your county. Each county’s probate court will have specific paperwork.
File Name Change Forms
Once you fill out the forms accurately and completely, you will turn them in to your county clerk’s office. You will need photo identification and pay a filing fee. You will receive a hearing date within about 45 days from the application date.
Provide Cause for the Name Change
When you file a name change application, you are required to provide a reason. You do not need to go in-depth, but you should provide a more formal reason other than “I want to.”
Some common reasons for an adult name change include:
- The new name is my preferred name, and I want to be able to obtain proper identification.
- The new name matches my gender identity.
- The new name recognizes my long-term romantic partnership.
- I did not change my name in connection a marriage or divorce but would like to now.
- The new name coincides with my parent’s name.
Changing your name requires that you publish notice of your intention to change your name in a local newspaper of general circulation at least 30 days prior to your hearing. If you live in Franklin County, some newspapers you can use include The Daily Reporter and The Columbus Dispatch.
If you have any questions regarding when and how to publish notice of your name change, you should talk with the attorneys at Luftman, Heck & Associates.
Attend Your Hearing
You must attend your court hearing where a magistrate will review your name change application. The magistrate will determine whether you satisfied all of the statutory requirements to change your name, including publishing proper notice. They also will review whether there is a reasonable and proper cause for the name change.
How Much Does a Legal Name Change Cost?
Changing your name will cost money. First, you must pay the county’s filing fee. The application costs $128.00 in Frankly County in 2022.
Second, you will need to pay for the cost of publishing notice in the newspaper. This typically costs between $30.00-$50.00.
The total cost depends on your county’s filing fees and the newspaper’s fees.
What Happens After I Change My Name?
Legally changing your name is the first step in a lengthy process. After the court approves the name change, you will need to:
- Update your information with the Social Security Administration to receive a new Social Security card.
- Obtain a new driver’s license or state ID.
- If you were born in Ohio, send the information to the Ohio Department of Health to obtain an amended birth certificate.
- Inform your school and/or employer.
- Inform your bank.
- Inform any creditors, including credit card companies, mortgage providers, or auto loan providers.
- Inform your doctors.
- Update your will, estate planning documents, and any other legal documents.
- Update your insurance policies.
To inform all of these parties and any other relevant government agencies or business, you should send a certified copy of the court order. You will be given four certified copies in Franklin County.
Can Someone With a Criminal Record Change Their Name?
If you have a criminal record, whether or not you can change your name depends on the offense(s) you were convicted of.
You cannot change your name if you were convicted of an offense involving:
- Identity Fraud
- Sex Crimes
- Child Victims
If all you have on your record is traffic tickets or a lone drunk driving offense, then you are not prohibited from changing your name. Other more serious misdemeanors and felonies also are not a problem as long as they are not sexually motivated, did not have minor victims, and were not related to identity fraud.
Name Changes for Trans Individuals
If you are changing your name to match your gender identity, there are a number of difficulties you may face, including blatant discrimination and unnecessary red tape. You may fear that publishing your name change will put you in danger. If you fear for your safety, talk with a name change lawyer about asking the court to waive this requirement. Our attorneys can represent you in filing an Application to Waive Publication Requirement and Seal File, and providing the court with proof that publication could put you in harm’s way.
Once you have succeeded in changing your name, an attorney can guide you through updating your name and gender on your identification and with the Social Security Administration.
Changing a Minor’s Name
If you are an adult and wish to change a minor’s name, you need the consent of a child’s legal parent, though you can request a child’s legal name change without the other parent’s permission – so long as notice of the hearing is provided through Certified U.S. Mail. The judge will decide if the name change is in the child’s best interests, and whether it is appropriate to not to have the parents’ consent.
If you are a minor and you wish to change your name, you should obtain your parents’ consent or provide your parents with notice via Certified Mail.
Have Complications Arisen in the Legal Name Change Process?
If you have questions about changing your name or have run into a problem during the process, do not hesitate to contact a name change lawyer at Luftman, Heck & Associates. We are here to guide you through the process and address any complications that arise.