Indiana Name Changes and the Process to do so

Indiana Name Change:  A Quick Look at the Process to Legally Change your Name

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Thinking about changing your name?  There are a couple of ways to change your name in the State of Indiana.  First, is through marriage and second, is through petitioning the court.  Changing your name through marriage is the easiest way, as it only requires an application through the Social Security Administration , proof of U.S. citizenship, proof of identity, and a certified copy of the marriage record that can be obtained through your local clerk’s office.
Name changes for reasons other than marriage are governed by I.C. §34-28-2 and are a little harder, as they require strict notice requirements.  Let’s take a quick look at that process.
The first step requires filing a petition with the circuit court of the county in which you reside.  If you are 17 years of age or older seeking to change your name, your petition must contain the following information:

  1. Your date of birth,
  2. Your current residence address and mailing address (if different than your residential address),
  3. A valid driver’s license number or Indiana identification card number,
  4. A list of all previous names you have ever used,
  5. Proof that you are a U.S. citizen
  6. A statement whether you hold a valid U.S. passport, and
  7. A description of all judgments of felony convictions from anywhere in the U.S.

Persons currently incarcerated within a department of correction facility may not petition to get their name changed.  All petitions must be sworn to (or affirmed) under the penalties of perjury and before a notary public.
If you are a parent or guardian seeking to change the name of a minor child, you must, in addition to the above, provide reasons for why the name change is requested.  Written consent of a parent or guardian must be filed along with the petition.  There are a few circumstances that written consent of a parent is not required and those can be found in detail under I.C. §31-19-9.  Parents or guardians must always be served with a copy of a petition to change the name of a minor.  Any decisions to change the name of the minor child are based on what’s in the best interest of the child.  It’s important to note, that the court will presume in favor of a parent of the minor child who has been making support payments and who objects to the proposed name change.
Once the petition has been filed, notice must be given.  This is the part of the process that takes the most time, as all notice requirements must be met before a hearing before the court can be held.  Notice must be published in a newspaper in the county in which you reside for a period of three (3) weeks.  The last weekly publication cannot be less than thirty (30) days before the day the petition will be heard as indicated in the notice.  There are very specific requirements that must be contained within the notice, especially if you have had a felony conviction within the last ten (10) years.  It’s extremely important for all persons to follow the notice requirements, however, it’s even more imperative to follow the notice requirements for anyone with a felony conviction because violation of said requirements for anyone with a felony conviction is a Class A misdemeanor.
After the notice requirements have been met, proof of publication is required and must be filed with the court along with a copy of the published notice.  The newspaper will provide an affidavit that the notice requirements have been met.  The court can then proceed forward with a hearing on the petition for name change.  The court has some discretion on whether to grant the name change, even for an adult, as they are allowed to make a decision based on what the court determines as just and reasonable.
As you can see, although the process may seem simple, changing your name requires following some pretty strict guidelines, especially when it comes to giving notice.  The experienced Indianapolis Family Law Attorneys at Banks & Brower, LLC can assist you and are available for calls 24/7/365 at 317.870.0019 or by email at info@banksbrower.com.  Give us a call today!

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