How to Legally Change Your Name After Marriage in Ohio

By Jann Seal

Updated February 27, 2020

Marriage brings with it adjustments and changes. One of those hurdles is how to legally change your name after marriage. In the state of Ohio, the process isn't complicated, just cumbersome and fraught with paperwork. Unlike many states that allow quick and easy marriage name changes, Ohio turns the process into one that is especially difficult if you want to incorporate your maiden name with your husband's or you're in a same-sex marriage. Second marriages where blending existing children into that family unit involve rulings from the State Court system.

Making Your Name Change Official

Applying for a marriage license in Ohio is a straightforward process, and it's handled in the state’s probate court. Both parties fill out the official form, using the names you currently have. It’s best to bring your birth certificate and know the names of both parents, maiden and married, before applying. A photo ID is also required.

A waiting period between the issuing of the license and the officiating of the marriage isn't required. But be aware that the name you sign on the marriage certificate after the “I Do’s” automatically becomes your official married name, not the name on the marriage license.

Get several copies of your official marriage certificate, complete with a raised seal, as you'll need it for identification when petitioning to change your name.

Reasons for a Name Change

It’s not unusual to identify a professional by their maiden name if they’ve established a reputation before marriage. But changing your name after marriage gives your family unit a singular identity. Children of that marriage exist under the same umbrella. The same holds when a second marriage exists, especially if the parental father is deceased or not a part of the children’s lives. Marriage is the key factor and how you decide on your name change after the vows are said is a family matter.

Contacting Social Security

Without changing your name with the Social Security Administration, not much else can be accomplished because that’s the key to your new identification. Visit a local Social Security office in Ohio and bring your marriage certificate with you as identification and proof of your new married name.

You can also apply for a name change via mail, but there are no options to do this online. Your new card contains the same number but arrives with the new name. Opt for a new card that drops your middle name and substitutes your maiden name as the middle name.

Changing Your Driving License

Once you get your new Social Security card, bring it and an official copy of your marriage certificate for backup proof to the motor vehicle department in your county. Once you pay the fee, a new driver's license is issued.

Other Governmental Documents

Your U.S. passport needs a name change as well. If you are traveling before this can be done, be sure to bring your marriage certificate with you as proof of your new legal name. If your passport with your maiden name was issued in the previous 12 months, you won’t pay a fee for the name change.

You’re Not Done Yet

When the governmental paperwork is complete, start on your personal documents. Alert your employer to the name change after the new Social Security card is issued, so your contributions are paid into the correct account. The same is valid for any savings or retirement packages you own, such as IRAs and pension accounts. Notify your bank of the name change.

Same-Sex Marriages

While the state of Ohio recognizes same-sex marriages, changing your name isn’t as straightforward as it is for heterosexual marriages. The court has to be petitioned by the person or persons requesting the name change, and the process moves ahead as if it were a traditional name change. Once the name change is officially recorded, let Social Security know. Once your new card is issued, continue the process.

Changing Your Children’s Names

The Ohio court must be petitioned if anyone under the age of 18 is to receive a name change. If the biological father is alive, he must sign the petition that is submitted to the Probate Court on the Minor Name Change Application. In the father cannot be found or identified, be prepared to testify under oath regarding your efforts to find the person. The judge decides whether the name change is legal or proper.

The Easy Way

In this internet age, services have popped up offering name change help. Some just do the basics, while others supply all the name change venues accompanied by a counselor to guide the way. The fees escalate according to the work requested. Consider this the perfect wedding gift!