736 N.E.2d 125 (Ohio 2000), 470503, In re Name Change of Handley

Docket Nº:470503.
Citation:736 N.E.2d 125, 107 Ohio Misc.2d 24, 2000-Ohio-1614
Opinion Judge:LAWRENCE A. BELSKIS, Judge.
Party Name:In re NAME CHANGE OF HANDLEY. [*]
Attorney:Lou Friscoe and Robert William Handley, Columbus, for petitioner.
Case Date:June 08, 2000
Court:County Court of Ohio
 
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Page 125

736 N.E.2d 125 (Ohio 2000)

107 Ohio Misc.2d 24, 2000-Ohio-1614

In re NAME CHANGE OF HANDLEY. [*]

No. 470503.

Probate Court of Franklin County, Ohio

June 8, 2000.

[107 Ohio Misc.2d 26] Lou Friscoe and Robert William Handley, Columbus, for petitioner.

LAWRENCE A. BELSKIS, Judge.

This matter came before the court upon a continuation from a magistrate's decision regarding the petition of Robert William

Page 126

Handley to change his name to Santa Robert Claus. Upon initial discussion, this matter was converted to an objection to the magistrate's decision regarding Handley's name change petition. The magistrate was unable to find a reasonable and proper cause to change the petitioner's name to Santa Robert Claus. However, the magistrate found that it would be reasonable and proper for the petitioner to change his name to a name that would reflect the spirit of Santa Claus while retaining the last name of "Handley." The parties in appearance were Lou Friscoe, attorney for the petitioner, and Robert William Handley, petitioner.

The petitioner filed an application with the court on December 29, 1999 to change his name to Santa Robert Claus. In his application, he stated that children have called him "Santa Bob" year round and that he lives his life for the children. The petitioner is a rotund gentleman with a full white beard and wears wire glasses, which he says attributes to people commenting on his resemblance of Santa Claus. The petitioner has been acting the role of Santa Claus for over forty years, initially playing the role in a school play at age fourteen. The petitioner receives gratuity for his portrayal of Santa Claus at various events, but it does not cover his expenses incurred. The petitioner stated in his application, "I don't want people to say you look like Santa, I want to be Santa."

A person can change his name pursuant to R.C. 2717.01(A) upon filing an application with the probate court and a showing that there is a "reasonable and proper cause" for changing the applicant's name.

The standard for deciding whether to permit a name change is proof that the facts set forth in the application show "reasonable and proper cause" for changing the name of the applicant. In re Willhite (1999), 85 Ohio St.3d 28, 30, 706 N.E.2d 778, 781. The court has discretion in determining whether a name change, is "reasonable and proper" by reviewing all facts...

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