In Ohio, changing your name is a lengthy process. You must publish a notice in the newspaper, file an application and attend a hearing at the county courthouse before your name change can be approved. People change their names for a variety of legitimate reasons that can include, among other things, religion, gender transition and divorce or remarriage. Anyone considering making such a change should first give thought to the financial and emotional costs involved.
To change your name in Ohio, you need a copy of your picture identification. If you are changing the name of a child who is less than 18 years of age, you will also need a certified copy of his birth certificate. If you do not have either of these documents, you will have to order new copies. Obtaining a new driver's license costs between $5 and $20, depending upon your county of residence, and ordering a new birth certificate costs $21.50.
As of 2010, you must pay a fee when you file your application for a name change. The fee varies from county to county but averages about $110.
If you change the name of a minor, you must serve notice to the other parent or obtain his consent. This requires sending a copy of your name change application to the parent via certified mail which, as of 2010, costs $2.80. Whether you are changing a child's name or your own, you must also publish a notice in a local newspaper. Some newspapers charge for this service. Other hidden expenses include cost of gas to get to and from the courthouse when necessary and income lost as a result of taking time off to keep appointments pertaining to the name change.
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When deciding whether to change your name, you should think about emotional as well as financial costs. For example, you must declare your name change publicly in the newspaper, which involves a certain loss of privacy. If you are changing your name following a divorce or as part of gender transition, people with whom you otherwise would not share this personal information can possibly see your public notice. Furthermore, when you appear in court to explain your reasons for the name change, you can suffer having the name change that is important to you denied by a magistrate who may judge it inappropriate.
Costs Following Your Name Change
Once you legally change your name, you must also apply for a new Social Security card and driver's license. The cost of a new driver's license is the same as for a replacement license: between $5 and $20 depending upon your county of residence. Obtaining a new Social Security card is free.