Court Jurisdiction
The jurisdiction of the Probate Court is defined in the Ohio Revised Code. The Code places many diverse duties upon the Court. The following is a brief outline and description of some of those duties.

The largest responsibility of the Court involves the supervision of descendants’ estates. This Court’s annual estate case load is approximately 1000 estates.

The Court supervises the estate administration by appointing an estate fiduciary (executor or administrator) when necessary, who must collect the assets of the descendant, pay all the legal obligations and debts to the descendant and distribute the remaining assets to those who are entitled to inherit. Most simple estates are closed within 9 months.

A properly drafted and executed will is beneficial and will allow the estate to be administered more efficiently. It is recommended that an attorney be consulted for the preparation of a will.

Another major responsibility of the Probate Court is to protect those persons who cannot protect themselves such as adult mentally incompetent persons and minors. Those persons may not be able to protect their financial affairs and/or their person. To protect the interests of those persons, the Court appoints a guardian who is accountable to the Court for the management of the ward’s estate and person.

The Probate Court oversees numerous types of trusts including testamentary trusts which are established by a descendant’s will, intervivos trusts which are established by an individual during his or her lifetime, wrongful death trusts which are established by the Probate Court for the protection of minors who receive funds from the wrongful death of a relative, and supplemental needs trusts to provide a higher quality of life for the disabled.

The Probate Court oversees the involuntary civil commitment process of individuals who are alleged to be mentally ill or mentally retarded. The Court conducts hearings to determine whether the individual is subject to hospitalization and to determine the length and place of treatment. All individuals involved have legal representation throughout the process. These proceedings and records are confidential by law.

All adoptions filed in Clark County must be finalized by the Probate Court. Those wishing to adopt are required to submit to a personal home investigation to insure their suitability as adoptive parents. The hearings and records are confidential by law.

The Probate Court has the authority to correct birth certificates and to issue delayed birth certificates for those individuals born within the State of Ohio. Birth certificates for individuals born in Clark County between the years of 1867 to 1908 may be obtained in the Probate Court. Birth certificates for individuals born after 1908 may be obtained from the division of vital statistics of the local or state board of health.

A Clark County resident who desires to legally change his or her name must file an application in the Clark County Probate Court. The Court hears name changes for both adults and minors. The person seeking the name change must be a resident of Clark County for at least one year prior to filing the application. All matters are set for hearing and publication is required in all cases.

Probate Court is on the 5th floor of the County Offices/Municipal Court Building, 50 East Columbia Street.

Marriage applications are taken between the hours of 8:00 A.M. and 4:00 P.M., Monday through Friday.

Each person applying must have proof of name, address, date of birth and social security number. A Driver's License is sufficient proof of name, address, and date of birth. If the address on the license is incorrect, verification of address can be made with a piece of mail, a personal check, rent receipt, etc. Social Security cards are proof of Social Security number, but if that is not available, we would accept a statement from the Social Security office with name and number, a copy of a W-2, tax forms, or any official document with the name and social security number on it. Both parties must know their parent's full name and their mother's maiden name. If either party is divorced, we must see a certified copy of the most recent divorce. If a previous marriage ended in the death of a spouse, we do not require the death certificate, but we will need the name of the spouse, the date of death, and the county and state where the spouse died.

Applicants who live in Ohio must get their marriage license in the county in which they live, regardless where in Ohio they are to be married. If applicants live in two different counties in Ohio the marriage license may be purchased in either county. After obtaining the license where you live, you may be married anywhere in the State of Ohio. If one person is from out of state and one person is from Ohio, and you are to be married in Ohio, you still must get the license in the county where the Ohioan resides. If both persons are from out of state, then you must get your marriage license in the county in which you are to be married and that license will only be valid for marriage in that county.

The name, address, phone number and title of the minister or other person performing the ceremony must be submitted. There are no justices of the peace in Ohio. If you want a Municipal Court Judge to perform the ceremony, you must make arrangements by dialing, for Judge Moody, 328.3773, or for Judge Nevius, 328.3763 or for Judge Trempe, 328.3768.

To marry in the State of Ohio, the groom must be 18 yrs. of age. The only exception to this law is as follows: the groom is under the age of 18 and has obtained consent from Juvenile Court to marry either the mother of his child or the bride-to-be who is now pregnant with his child. The groom’s parents must also consent to the marriage. If the parents are divorced, the parent having custody must appear and bring a certified copy of their custody papers.

A bride-to-be who is 16 or 17 is allowed by law to marry with parent’s consent and without permission from Juvenile Court. If the bride is less than 16 yrs. of age, and the same circumstances exist as to motherhood or pregnancy, consent from Juvenile Court must first be obtained. Juvenile Court requires that both the Bride's and Groom's Parent's must consent at their court. The phone number of Juvenile Court is (937) 521-1600.

If either party is less than 18 yrs. old, a statement of counseling from a minister or marriage counselor, on official stationary, showing that the couple has been counseled for at least two hours, is required.

To apply for a marriage on the web, go to the Marriage Application and follow the instructions. Note: All marriage license information will be transferred twice daily, at 7:00 A.M. and 7:00 P.M. You will not be able to come in to the Court to complete the process until the day after you apply on the web. Please follow the instructions carefully.