Factors Considered By Ohio Courts In Determining Name Change Applications For Minor Children
In deciding whether or not to grant an application to change the name of a minor child, the Ohio courts are required to decide whether the proposed name change would be in the child's best interest. Most often, name change petitions regarding children are filed after the natural parents have divorced. Consequently, the factors considered by the courts typically relate to the relationship between the subject child and the parents.
The specific factors that Ohio courts consider when assessing whether a proposed name change is in a child's "best interest" are the following:
- The effect of the change on the preservation and development of the child's relationship with each parent;
- The identification of the child as part of a family unit;
- The length of time that the child has used a surname;
- The preference of the child if the child is of sufficient maturity to express a meaningful preference;
- Whether the child's surname is different from the surname of the child's residential parent;
- The embarrassment, discomfort, or inconvenience that may result when a child bears a surname different from the residential parent's;
- Parental failure to maintain contact with and support of the child; and (8) any other factor relevant to the child's best interest.