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Name Changes

Name Change for an Adult:

An adult bona fide legal resident who has lived in Hardin County, Ohio for one year, may apply to the Probate Court for a change of name according to Ohio Revised Code §2717.01. The name of an adult may not be changed for an individual who has been convicted of, plead guilty to, or 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 filing must be made in person. The Applicant must establish a reasonable and proper reason for seeking the name change.

Items necessary to file a Name Change for an Adult:

  1. Copy of Driver’s License or Government issued picture ID of the Applicant.
  2. A certified copy of Applicants birth certificate.
  3. Certified documentary proof relating to any changes in the Applicant’s name that have occurred that reflect names different than that appearing on the birth certificate (ex.: marriage certificates, divorce decrees, etc.).
  4. Base court cost deposit of $150.00. Any additional court cost must be paid the day of the final hearing.
  5. Completed Probate forms (which may be picked up at the Court office or downloaded from the Supreme Court Website: https://www.supremecourt.ohio.gov/LegalResources/Rules/superintendence/probate_forms/

The Deputy Clerk will photocopy the original documents, and return the originals to the Applicant.

Applicants can complete the Name Change process without an attorney, but it is always advisable to seek the advice and assistance of a licensed attorney for any court proceedings

DEPUTY CLERKS OF THE PROBATE COURT ARE PROHIBITED BY OHIO LAW FROM ASSISTING IN THE PREPARATION OF THE REQUIRED FORMS OR GIVING LEGAL ADVICE.

After the filing of the paperwork, the Court will set a hearing date usually 60 days after the filing date.

A publication one time in a paper of general circulation in Hardin County, Ohio must be completed. (Unless it is proven to the Court that publication would jeopardize the Applicant’s personal safety.)

The Court has discretion to disapprove the change of name when it determines the change is being sought for purposes of fraud or deception, or when it is determined that the change is against public policy. The Court will not grant a name change to any applicant who has been convicted of a sexually oriented offense or an offense where the victim was a minor.

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

After the name change is approved, 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); but, within 90 days the Bureau will issue a “Certificate of Birth” in the new name and a footnote 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 Street
P.O. Box 15098
Columbus, Ohio 43215
vitalstat@odh.gov

PERSONS BORN OUTSIDE OHIO ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR PROVIDING A COPY OF THE COURT’S JUDGMENT ENTRY TO THE APPROPRIATE AGENCY IN THE STATE OF BIRTH.

After the name change is approved, it is the responsibility of the Applicant to 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, medical care providers, creditors and any other institutions or persons applicable. Doing so will prevent delay when the entity is later requested to pay a benefit, release a deposit, reissue a license, confirm a degree, or extend credit. 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.

Name Change for a Minor:

An adult parent, legal guardian, or guardian ad litem of a minor (under age 18) desiring a name change for the minor may file an application in the county in which the minor has been a bona fide legal resident for one year prior to the filing. 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 Applicant must have a reasonable and proper reason for seeking the minor’s name change. The Court will consider evidence from the Applicant and any witnesses at the hearing to establish that reasonable and proper cause exists to change the name.

Items necessary to file a Name Change for a Minor:

  1. Copy of Driver’s License or Government issued picture ID of the Applicant.
  2. A certified copy of the minor’s birth certificate.
  3. Proof that the Applicant is the duly appointed legal guardian of the minor, or is the minor’s guardian ad litem, if the applicant is not a parent of the minor.
  4. Base court cost deposit of $150.00. Any additional court cost must be paid the day of the final hearing.
  5. 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.
  6. Completed Probate forms with the current names and addresses of each legal parent of the minor’s whose name is being changed. Forms may be picked up at the Court office or downloaded from the Supreme Court Website: https://www.supremecourt.ohio.gov/LegalResources/Rules/superintendence/probate_forms/
  7. If a parent is deceased, proof of the death will be required to be filed.
  8. Proof that the minor is a legal resident of Hardin County, Ohio and of the United State of America.
  9. If you do not know the address of parent(s), you must file the Affidavit (Civil Rule 4.4) showing reasonable diligence to ascertain the whereabouts of the person to be served has been satisfied. (Print Affidavit & Attachment).

The Deputy Clerk will photocopy the original documents, and return the originals to the Applicant.

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 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 change of name involving a child or applicant. It is always advisable in any legal proceeding to seek the advice and assistance of a competent attorney. In the case of foreign birth documentation of being legally present in the United States must be provided to the Court.

DEPUTY CLERKS OF THE PROBATE COURT ARE PROHIBITED BY OHIO LAW FROM ASSISTING IN THE PREPARATION OF THE REQUIRED FORMS OR GIVING LEGAL ADVICE.

After the filing of the paperwork, the Court will set a hearing date usually 60 days after the filing date.

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) as provided by law. If the address of a parent is unknown, the Court requires the applicant to establish 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 to a later date or dismissed.

A publication one time in a paper of general circulation in Hardin County, Ohio must be completed. (Unless it is proven to the Court that publication would jeopardize the Applicant’s personal safety.)

The minor child must be present on the day of the hearing unless under the age of 12 or as otherwise directed by the Court.

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 interests.

The Court is required to be presented with evidence of the requisite legal factors by law. It is the responsibility of the applicant, whether represented by counsel or not, to present the legally required evidence to the Court to meet the burden of proof. Failure to do so will require the judge to deny the requested name change.

The Court has discretion to disapprove the name change 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.

On the day of the hearing, if the name change is approved, 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); but, within 90 days the Bureau will issue a “Certificate of Birth” in the new name and a footnote 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 Street
P.O. Box 15098
Columbus, Ohio 43215
vitalstat@odh.gov

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.

After the name change is approved, it is the responsibility of the Applicant to promptly give notice that the minor’s name has been changed to financial institutions, motor vehicle bureaus, licensing agencies, employer human resources departments, educational institutions, the social security administration, medical care providers, other entities to which the minor’s name is relevant for benefit or beneficiary purposes and any other institutions or persons applicable. Doing so will prevent delay when the entity is later requested to pay a benefit, release a deposit, reissue a license, confirm a degree, or extend credit. 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.


Legal Holidays are per the Hardin County Handbook: New Years Day, Martin Luther King Day, Presidents Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Veteran's Day, Thanksgiving Day and the Friday after, and Christmas Day.
**Note: If the above holiday falls on a Saturday, the Court will be closed the Friday before the holiday. If the holiday falls on a Sunday, the Court will be closed the Monday after the holiday.