Changing your name in Ohio is usually not complicated. It is done through the probate court of the county in which you reside.
In order to change your legal name, you need to complete the name change application, file the paperwork at probate court, present valid identification, and pay the filing fee. You may also be asked to present your current birth certificate at the time of filing. Public legal notice of the proposed name change is then made either by the court itself or by the applicant. For example, in Cuyahoga County, the court publishes the legal notice in the Daily Legal News. The final step in the court process is attending a hearing at probate court before the judge or magistrate.
Once approved, you need to take the court order to the local Social Security Office for a new social security card, visit the Bureau of Motor Vehicles for a new driver's license, and mail it and the appropriate paperwork and filing fee to the Ohio Department of Health (if you were born in Ohio) for an amended birth certificate. You also need to change your name with your bank, employer, school, insurance company, credit card company, doctor, etc. And don't forget to update your estate planning documents!
Name changes for a minor are filed by the child's parent or legal guardian, and there is a little more paperwork involved. The other parent must consent to the name change, or you must serve notice of the court hearing to the other parent. The probate court will approve the name change only if it's in the best interest of the child.
Name changes for transgender individuals can be more complicated, depending upon the county in which the application is filed. The probate judges in Cuyahoga County are very open and accepting of name change applications and do not require any medical documentation from the applicant's doctor. However, other counties in Ohio may not be as familiar with name change applications from transgender individuals and may ask for medical documentation. You may need an attorney or experienced advocate to go with you to the court hearing in order to educate the probate judge that medical justification should not be required for a name change in Ohio. Equitas Health and TransOhio are hosting a series of free name-change clinics in Ohio in 2017.