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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.