Where and what to file?
If you live in Indiana and want to change your legal name, you must file a petition in the Circuit Court (not Superior Court) of the county where you reside. The petition must contain various information, such as your date of birth, your driver’s license number, your address, etc. The petition must also be sworn under the penalties for perjury and notarized.
Notice of the petition—including the date on which the court hearing regarding your name change will take place—must be published in the newspaper for three consecutive weeks. This is to ensure that any interested parties (for example, creditors) may attend the hearing if they would like. The law does not take kindly to you changing your name in order to attempt to dodge any debts you may have.
What comes next?
After notice of the petition has run in the newspaper, the court must be provided with proof of that publication. Once that has occurred, the hearing may take place. Anyone can attend the hearing and voice his or her objections to your name change to the judge. While it isn’t common for there to be objections in the case of an adult name change, the name change of a minor could create some controversy, especially if one of the biological parents does not consent. The judge will consider all of the objections and make a determination on the petition. If the judge grants your petition, she will send a copy of the decree to the state department of health and to the local health department of the county. That completes the process.
While getting a name change is fairly straightforward, there can still be hiccups, and the various systems (for example, having the notice published in the newspaper) may be difficult to navigate. I’m available to help and make the procedure as smooth as possible. If changing your name (or your child’s name) is something that you’re interested in, please call or email me to discuss. I look forward to hearing from you!