R.C. 2717.01 Interpretation

When deciding whether to permit such a name change under R.C. 2717.01, the trial court must consider the best interest of the child in determining whether reasonable and proper cause has been established. In re Willhite (1999), 85 Ohio St.3d 28, 1999 Ohio 201, 706 N.E.2d 778, at paragraph one of the syllabus. In determining whether a name change is in the child's best interest, the trial court must consider eight factors. Id. at paragraph two of the syllabus. Those factors are: (1) the effect of the change on the preservation and development of the child's relationship with each parent; (2) the identification of the child as part of a family unit; (3) the length of time that the child has used a surname; (4) the preference of the child if the child is of sufficient maturity to express a meaningful preference; (5) Whether the child's surname is different from the surname of the child's residential parent; (6) the embarrassment, discomfort, or inconvenience that may result when a child bears a surname different from the residential parent's surname; (7) Parental failure to maintain contact with and support the child; (8) Any other factor relevant to the child's best interest. Id.