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In re Change of Name of A.LaR.F-R.

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Fifth District, Licking

September 1, 2017

IN THE MATTER OF: THE CHANGE OF NAME OF A.LaR.F-R. to A.LaR.R.

         Civil Appeal from the Court of Common Pleas, Probate Division, Case No. 2016-0642

          For Appellant ELIZABETH V. WESTFALL ELIZABETH V. WESTFALL LLC

          For Appellee Mother ELIZABETH R. WERNER THE NIGH LAW GROUP LLC

          Hon. W. Scott Gwin, P. J. Hon. John W. Wise, J. Hon. Earle E. Wise, Jr., J.

          OPINION

          Wise, John, J.

         {¶1} Appellant-Father W. F. appeals the January 31, 2017, Judgment Entry of the Licking County Court of Common Pleas, Probate Division, granting Appellee-Mother's Application for Change of Name of the minor child.

         {¶2} Initially we note that Appellant's brief fails to set forth a Statement of the Case or a Statement of the Facts as required by App.R. 16(A)(5) and (6). While we are mindful that such omissions authorize this Court to either strike the offending portions of the brief or sua sponte dismiss the appeal, we will review the merits of Appellant's claims in the interest of justice. Accordingly, we have taken the following recitation of the facts and procedural history from the record and Appellee-Mother's brief.

         STATEMENT OF THE CASE AND FACTS

         {¶3} The minor child in this case was born on December 17, 2008, to Appellee-Mother L.M.S. (nka L.M.R.) and Appellant-Father W.F. Mother and Father have never been married to one another. Id.

         {¶4} On December 20, 2008, before a Notary Public in and for the State of Ohio, both parties signed an affirmation of paternity that listed the child's name as A.L.R. Id. The child's original birth certificate reflected the birth name of A.L.R. Id. Mother and the child were residents of Franklin County, Ohio, at the time of the child's birth.

         {¶5} On March 18, 2009, Father filed a Complaint to Allocate Parental Rights and Responsibilities in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas, Division of Domestic Relations and Juvenile Branch. In the Complaint, Father admitted that paternity had been established by the signing of the affidavit of paternity, which has a registry number of 621380.

         {¶6} After a contested hearing on the matter, the Franklin County Court issued a Magistrate's Decision on January 20, 2010, which was adopted by Judgment Entry and filed the same day. Although there were objections filed, the objections were dismissed by Judgment Entry filed March 4, 2010.

         {¶7} The Magistrate's Decision filed January 20, 2010, stated in the findings of facts that the parties had "agreed" to changing the child's name to A.R.F-R. However, the court did not Order the name change and did not file the necessary Orders to have the birth records changed to A.R.F-R. The Decisions and Entry also designated the Mother as the sole legal custodian of the child and allocated parental rights and responsibilities between the parties. Id. There was no paternity determination as such was established by the affidavit of paternity signed by the parties at the child's birth.

         {¶8} Father presented the Magistrate's Decision and Entry to the Ohio Bureau of Vital Statistics. (T. at 70-71). Father then took the changed birth certificate to the Social Security office to change the child's name on the Social Security card. (T. at 71). Both the birth certificate and social security cards were changed to reflect the name A.L.R-F based on Father's actions and the portion ...


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