Name Change

For a Minor

RC 2717.03 states that an adult parent, legal guardian, legal custodian, 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 sixty (60) days prior to the filing.

Once all the necessary documents are filed with the Court, a hearing date may be scheduled.  The Court may require notice of the application and hearing date to be published 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.

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.

The Court does not provide new birth certificates.  The Court will forward to the 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, upon request and within approximately 90 days, the Bureau will issue a “Certificate of Birth” with the new name and bearing a notation that a legal name change is on file.  If there are questions about the new Certificate of Birth contact may be made with the following office:

Ohio Department of Health

Bureau of Vital Statistics

P.O. Box 15098

Columbus, OH  43215

Tel. 614-466-2531

 

Items necessary to file a Name Change for a Minor:

  • The minor whose name is to be changed must have been a Shelby County resident for at least sixty (60) days prior to filing;
  • A certified copy of the minor’s birth certificate;
  • Base court cost deposit as outlined in the Court’s Local Rules of Court, Appendix A;
  • Proof that the applicant is the duly appointed legal guardian or legal custodian for the minor, or is the minor’s guardian ad litem, if the applicant is not a parent of the minor, and
  • Complete all forms and requirements listed in the Court’s Checklist, found below.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

The applicant must be a resident of Shelby County, Ohio for at least sixty (60) days 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 Shelby County for at least sixty (60) days.

What is the Procedure?

Ohio law permits an adult parent of a minor, a guardian of a minor, legal custodian, 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.  After the filing of the paperwork, a hearing date may be set by the Court, generally 60 days after the filing.  If the Court determines publication is required, notice of said application and hearing must be published at least 30 days prior to the date of hearing, one time in a paper of general circulation in Shelby County, Ohio.  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 Shelby County may be used for the publication of the notice.

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

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 if needed, 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 cost deposit when the filing is made; the current amount required can be found on Appendix A of the Local Rules of Court.

Is a New Birth Certificate Issued?

The Court does not issue a new birth certificate.

The Court will forward to the 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, upon request and within approximately 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 legal name change proceeding.  If there are questions about the new Certificate of Birth contact may be made with the following office:

Ohio Department of Health 
Bureau of Vital Statistics
P.O. Box 15098
Columbus, OH  43215
Tel. 614-466-2531

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.

Standard Probate Forms 

For all Standard Probate Forms click  here.

For Checklists and Forms exclusive to Shelby County Probate Court, see the forms section below.

Minor Name Change Forms

Name Change for a Minor Checklist

Civil Fee Waiver Affidavit and Order

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