Ohio name change for transgender people

Disclaimer: This is legal talk, not legal advice. Laws vary by state, and some of the information discussed on this page may not be applicable in your case. I cannot guarantee the accuracy of this information and provide it without warranty. Laws change and this information may contain errors and omissions. It is up to you to confirm any information herein by doing your own research.

In November 2011, a reader sent the following first-hand report:

I changed my name in October-November 2009 in Lorain County. Name changes are granted at the Probate Court in Elyria (225 Court Street -- http://www.loraincounty.com/probate/search.shtml). It's wise to call the court in advance to verify their hours; the first time I went, they had all left early for the afternoon. Their number is (440) 329-5175. To change your name in Lorain County, Ohio:

* Go to the Probate Court, armed with an I.D., proof of residence, the name change form (http://www.loraincounty.com/probate/forms/21-0.pdf), an original copy of your birth certificate, and a checkbook (the filing fee is almost $100 as of 2009). They will then set up a court date.

* Ohio requires all name changes to be publicized in a newspaper at least 30 days before the court date, so the court will give you a form to take to the newspaper. There's a newspaper office a few blocks down the street (The Chronicle Telegram at 225 East Ave.). The court is pretty persnickety about which newspaper you publish in, so swinging by the Chronicle Telegram office is probably the best option. As of October, 2009, the publishing fee was about $40, and they don't take checks, just credit/debit and cash. Make sure they send proof of publication to the correct address; you are required to bring proof of publication to your court date.

* Show up to your court date and let the people in the office know you are there. They may be running late, but the court recommends that you arrive 15 minutes early. You're allowed to take friends with you, even into the hearing.

* Answer questions succinctly and politely; the hearing itself should take only 15 minutes. They will likely want to know why you want to change your name, and how long you've wanted to. If you brought friends, those folks may be asked to support or speak against changing your name.

* You will receive five copies of the court order, which can go to places like the Social Security Office (in Lorain), to any other government office that needs one, and to whomever else needs a copy.

In September 2009, TransOhio created the following resource:


In June 2003 a reader sent the following:

In Belmont County, Ohio, I never had to see the judge for my name change. All I had to do was fill out the name change application, the clerk will show it to the judge and he decides right then if he's going to grant it. If he ok's it, you pay the clerk the fee, I think it was $80 and then you have a 30 day waiting period because they will post it in the local paper and if it's not contested by your court date, <30+days from application date> you pay the court whatever the fee was charged to them for posting it in the local paper <usually around $15> and walk out with your new name. You have to use the form they give you though because it is different than other counties.

I was scared to death because in the paper, it shows your court date, your old name and what you want your new name to be.
When I went in on the court date, I saw the clerk and they told me the remaining balance and gave me my name change order. I was so relieved! I guess the only reason you would have see the judge is if someone were to contest it.

In January 2004, a reader send this experience from five years earlier:

In 1999, I went for a name change in Clark County, Ohio. I had used some computer legal software that said,"Legal in all 50 states." I filled in the blanks and printed it all out (13 pages). When I went in to probate court to file, they told me they didn't do it that way. They gave me a simple 4 page form and told me to use a typewriter to fill it in. They said be very careful as they could not accept it if it had white-out or corrections, etc. I did that, came back, they collected $70 from me, and gave me a page to take to the newspaper. At the paper, it cost me $35 for a "legal notice" ad and they put it in without any trouble. 30 days later, I went back to probate court and checked in. The judge came out, gathered some papers, and went to his office in the room. 5 minutes later is when he called me in. I sat down, he asked a number of pertinent questions why I wanted to change the name, I showed him some documents from my therapist, etc., and that was it. He signed the order, told me to have a great day, and I went to the clerk with him so I could get copies. Very simple, no problems, and all was fine. But as another person stated, things may be different in each of Ohio's 88 counties as to how they handle your case(some may be like my experience, others may have you actually appear in court. YMMV)

I received this in July 2004:

I legally had my name change first, middle and last July 2004, in Geauga County, Ohio. I filled out name change forms that I got off the Internet.

I Brought them to the clerk of courts. There was a $100.00 application fee. The court date was set for 8 weeks later. The court published a classified add in the legal notice section of the local paper one week after I filed my application for one day. This add showed my male name and my new female name plus my current address The judge was very polite. He asked why I wanted the name change. I told him that I had just completed one year of my full life test living as a women and will have GRS in October of this year and I thought it was time to have my name match my Gender. He smiled. Signed the order and told me to have a nice life. That was it.

Other resources


Ohio State law

In re Maloney (2001), 96 Ohio St.3d 307, 2002 Ohio 4214, 774 N.E.2d 239.

Source: http://www.transohio.org/wordpress/?page_id=376

Precedent for transsexual people