How to Change Your Name in Ohio

Your name is who part of who you are. We're given it after birth. We grow up with it. We grow old with it. And, at key moments in life, we change it. Maybe it's for marriage, or maybe following a heartbreaking divorce. Perhaps we simply want to go by another name, either for family reasons or, well, just because we can. Whatever the reason, the law permits people to change their name.

This article deals with how to change your name in Ohio. From Lake Erie, to the Ohio River and every place in-between, the laws are the same. But what to do depends on your situation. Here, we'll help you:

  1. Identify the right process for you;
  2. Figure out what paperwork should be filed; and
  3. Start using your new name.

 

1. Identify and Follow the Correct Ohio Legal Name Change Process

Most states make it easy for people to change their name after getting married or divorced. On the other hand, changing your name at other times will require going to court. A court order provides legal proof of a name change and the process protects the public from shady dealings and sharp practices. What's right for you? Read on.

Marriage

Are you ready to hitch yourself to your partner for all eternity? The easiest time to change your name is during marriage as it happens. The Buckeye State permits a marrying spouse to take another last name (surname) when applying for an Ohio marriage certificate. The valid marriage certificate serves as proof of a name change, and can be used to update your Social Security card and driver license (more on this below).

Divorce

Who wants their ex's name? When splitting up your assets and deciding child custody issues, what to do about your name can be a tough call. Some parents keep their last name to match their child's last name. Other people want to shed their ex's name ASAP.

Ohio permits a person to restore any name from before marriage. It's got to be a previous name, though. This must be done as part of the state's divorce process and the name change will be incorporated into the final decree of divorce (court order). Like the marriage certificate, the divorce decree serves as your proof of a name change.

Petition for a Change of Name -- Adults

Any other name change involves a longer legal process. Ohio law permits its residents to file a name change application with their county probate court. You must:

  • Have resided in Ohio for at least one year;
  • Say why you want to change your name;
  • Tell the court what your requested new name is; and
  • Mention if you're a registered sex offender or child-victim offender.

Prohibited Name Changes

There are some restrictions on the name change process. The system is designed to deter and avoid illegality, fraud, and misunderstanding. You can't change your name to avoid the law, escape your debts, get out of a lawsuit, or similar shenanigans. Ohio prevents registered sex offenders and child-victim offenders from changing their names as well.

Publication Requirement

Ohio requires notice of a name change application to be filed in a local newspaper. This needs to happen at least thirty days before your court hearing, and is something you'll want to arrange with your local court clerk's office and newspaper. The notice has to include:

  • The court where the application is filed;
  • The case number; and
  • The date and time of the hearing.

The idea is that publication informs people, businesses, and anyone interested about a name change. When the requirements are met, the court will decide whether to grant the application. The resulting court order legally changes your name.

2. File the Appropriate Paperwork with Government Agencies

Once your name is legally changed, you should contact your local Social Security office to start on updating your Social Security card. When that's done, you'll want to contact the Ohio BMV to update your driver license. Be prepared to show your legal proof of name change – marriage certificate, divorce decree, or court order – when going through the BMV. Other identity documents and official records should be updated as well.

3. Start Using Your New Name

It's important to start using your new name. Tell your family, friends, colleagues, and acquaintances. Update your records, change your email and social media accounts, and generally let the world know about your name change. It'll make things easier for you and allow other people and businesses to update their info.

Get the Forms You Need in Ohio

You don't have to go it alone or hire an attorney to change your name in Ohio. Avoid the paperwork, stress, and hassle by using our Ohio name change forms. The best part is that all the research has already been done for you. Find the right form for you and get the process started today.

Next Steps: Search for a Local Attorney

Contact a qualified attorney.