I come to you as your Perry County Probate and Juvenile Judge where it is my privilege to be your judge. I have chosen to write about name changes in this article!

Did you ever think as a child why did my parent give me this name? I remember as a child going to stores or gas stations and looking for a bicycle license plate with my name. I have yet to find a “Luann” license plate!

While we may have had nothing to do with our name, Ohio law provides an avenue to change your name. The Ohio Revised Code section 2717.01 allows a person to file an application to change a name in the probate court of the county which the person resides.

The applicant must be a resident of the county for at least one year prior to the filing of the application, must state the cause for which the name change is sought and the requested new name. If the applicant has been convicted of certain offenses such as fraud or a conviction for a sexually oriented offense they would be prohibited from a name change of any kind.

The application shall be published in a newspaper of general circulation in the county at least thirty days before the hearing on the application. A hearing is scheduled in the probate court.

The most common name change hearings that I conduct are for minors who change their last names and for women who want to change their last names as well. I have an evidentiary hearing and many times the child will tell me they wish to have their last name changed. I must find that the cause for which the name is sought is a valid one.

I have had personal experience with name change applications. When our son Cooper was in the first grade he came home from school and said “Hey, why don’t I have a middle name?” He proceeded to tell us all the boys in Mrs. Ulmer’s first grade class had middle names! He then recited all of them for us!

When John and I had Cooper we did not give him a middle name. I do not have a middle name and we thought Cooper Gillogly was a lot to say together so we did not give Cooper a middle name. He told us he wanted a middle name so we let him pick. He picked the middle name John. We filed the paperwork and we had a hearing. I have a photo of it. We had a hearing and he explained in open court why he wanted the middle name of John.

Do you think we will be getting some new names with the COVID-19? What about Cova or Vira? My favorite would be Zoomy! I think back to the blizzard of 1978 and wonder if we had any names that resulted from the blizzard? Maybe some Storms?

As always it is my pleasure to be your judge and come to you from time to time with some new views! All name change forms are available at the probate court.

Written and submitted by Judge Luann Cooperrider, Perry County Probate and Juvenile Judge for The Perry County Tribune.

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