Changing Your Name if you are an Adult

Can an adult change his or her name?

Yes, usually. In Indiana, a person over the age of 18 can generally get his or her name changed by a court. It is actually not necessary to get a court order for a name change; an adult can simply begin using a new name as long as the person is not trying to get away from creditors or criminal problems. However, you can get a court order for a name change if you want to. Some people prefer to get a court order to make it easier to change your name with agencies.

I am an adult and I want to change my name. My parents do not want me to. Can they stop me?

No. The parents of an adult do not have the right to object to an adult’s name change.

Are there times when I cannot change my name?

Yes. You CANNOT get your name changed if you are confined to a department of correction facility (prison). You also cannot get your name changed if you are trying to hide from creditors or from criminal problems.

If you have had a felony conviction within 10 years of the time you want to change your name, you will have to do extra notifications when you file your petition for a name change. (See below for information on these extra notifications).

I was in prison a few years ago, but I am out now. Can I change my name?

You can ask the court to change your name. Because you are no longer in prison, you can ask the court for a name change. You will have to do the extra notifications. You may also have to prove to the court that you are not trying to change your name to get away from creditors or criminal problems.

How do I change my name in court?

First, you will need to file a name change petition in the circuit court in the county where you live. Second, you have to publish a notice of name change in a local newspaper for three weeks. This “tells the world” of your plan to change your name.

Approximately 30 days after the proper notice in the paper has been done, the court will have a hearing. Technically, you do not have to give the court a reason for your name change. However, the court is not absolutely required to give you the name change, so it would be better if you did have a reason for the court.

What newspaper should I use to publish my notice?

You should use the newspaper that is mostly widely published in the county where you file the petition. If there is no newspaper in that county, you should use the newspaper in an adjoining county. You can call the local county clerk to ask what newspaper is typically used for publishing legal notices.

What extra notifications are required if I have a criminal past?

You always have to do the basic notice to your local newspaper. If you have had a felony conviction in the last ten years, you also must notify the sheriff and prosecutor of the county where you live, and the Indiana criminal history records department.

I had a misdemeanor conviction last year. I want to change my name. Do I have to notify the sheriff and the prosecutor?

No. You only have to notify the sheriff, prosecutor, and the Indiana criminal history records department if you have had a FELONY conviction within the last 10 years.

What is the Indiana criminal history records department?

The Indiana State Police Department is required by law to keep a central record of criminal history information. (It is sometimes called the “Indiana central repository for criminal history information”). This usually consists of information about felonies and some Class A misdemeanors. If you have had a felony conviction within the last 10 years and you file for a name change, you must send notify this agency. You need to give them your full current name, your requested name change, your date of birth, your address, your physical description, and a full set of classifiable fingerprints. You should also send them a copy of you name change petition. You can call this agency at (317) 232-8262. The mailing address for the agency is :

Indiana State Police
Central Repository
100 N. Senate Rm N302
Indianapolis, IN 46204

This agency will forward a copy of your criminal records to the court, which is handling your name change case.

What happens after the court orders my name to be changed?

If the court grants the name change, the court will give you a decree of name change, certified by the clerk of the court. This is your proof of the name change. Once your name has been changed, you will need to notify government agencies (particularly the Social Security Administration), your employer, your creditors and other agencies and businesses that you deal with.

LSC Code 1340100
Last revised 12-02

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