Starting the name and gender change process
The first step is to fill out the court forms. What forms you need depends on if you are filing as an adult (over 17) and if you have any felony convictions. Packets with all the forms you need can be found here.
Where do I file?
You must file your case with the county clerk in the county in which you live. Contact information for the Clerk of Court in your county, visit http://www.in.gov/judiciary/2794.htm.
How much does it cost?
As of February 2020, the current filing fee in most counties is $157. If you cannot afford the fee, you can request that the Judge allow you to file for free or a reduced amount. This form is called an Affidavit of Indigency and Fee Waiver Request. If you make a fee waiver request that is denied, please contact the LGBT Project of Indiana Legal Services at 317-829-3180 or firstname.lastname@example.org before you pay a fee.
Will my case be public?
Yes. Everything you file in your name and gender change cases are publicly available on https://public.courts.in.gov/mycase. If you feel unsafe having your case be made public, court rules allow you to ask that the records be sealed (not available to the public) for your safety. This is called an Access to Court Records request.
What do I file?
You should bring the original of the forms in the packets to the clerk, who will stamp the forms and assign a case number, and give you back a copy of the forms.
Rule 9 hearing or publishing in a newspaper
If you made a Rule 9 request, the court will have a hearing about this request. Some Counties, such as Marion, will have this hearing the same day as your name and gender marker hearings, while a few others will schedule two hearings.
The issue at this hearing is why the court should seal the record and waive publication. You will need to show the judge that you would face a significant risk of substantial harm if your name/gender change was published or made public. To show this, you can tell the judge about any violence or discrimination you have experienced or witnessed, or why you fear for your safety should you be outed as trans.
Publication in a Newspaper
How publication works and what needs to be published varies from county to county, so you should ask the clerk what the procedure is where you live. Regardless of the process, the notice must appear once a week for three weeks in a local newspaper. The last publication date must be at least thirty days before your hearing date. You should then return this proof of publication to the clerk.
Name and Gender Change Hearing
When and where will my hearing be?
After you file the paperwork, the clerk will mail you an order letting you know when your hearing is. The hearing will be in the County Court in the county where you live. The hearing notice will let you know what court and in which courtroom.
Do I need to do anything before the hearing?
It depends. If you don’t ask that the records of your case be made private and the publication requirement waived, before your hearing, you will need to place an ad in a newspaper in your county. Directions about that process are in the packets.
If you asked that your case be private, you don’t need to do anything.
What should I bring to my hearing?
You should bring the following to your hearing(s):
- Indiana photo ID;
- Original or certified copy of Birth Certificate;
- US passport, if you have one;
- Letter from your doctor or therapist about your transition, if you have one.
What will happen at the court hearing?
At the hearing, the Judge gets information from you about why you want to keep the records of the case private (if you asked for htt) and why you want to change your name and gender marker. The Judge will likely just ask you about all the information in the documents you gave to the court.
Some Counties, like Marion, will have a hearing on your request to keep the records private the same day as your name and gender marker hearings, while a few others will schedule two hearings.
What happens after the hearing?
After the hearing, the Judge should sign the Name and Gender Marker Change Order you submitted when you started your case. When this Order is signed your name and gender marker are legally changed! Sometimes you get the order on the day of the hearing, other times the court will mail you a copy after they process the paperwork. We recommend getting 2-3 certified copies of the order from the clerk.
A guide from Indiana Legal Services abut updating Indiana IDs is available here. For information about updating put of state IDs, please visit the National Center for Transgender Equality’s Document Center.
Name and Gender Marker Change FAQ
Name and Gender Marker Change Forms