How to Legally Change Your Name in Indiana

Indiana name change

To change your name in the state of Indiana, you will do it according to the laws and statutes on name changes for the State (Chapter 2 of IC 34-28-2). While the statutes are available online, the following information can help you to change your name with ease.

Marriage name change

If you're intending to marry, changing your name afterward is the easiest of name changes. No court paperwork, filing fees, or extra footwork. Just a certified copy of your marriage certificate is what you'll need. But you'll need a marriage license to get your certificate. We'll cover the steps for attaining that document next.

To apply for an Indiana marriage license, both individuals intending to marry should appear before the office of the clerk of the circuit court. Show up in person within either person's county of residency. If neither of you live in Indiana, apply in the county where your marriage ceremony will take place. You can't apply by mail, proxy, or power of attorney.

You must be 18 years old or older to marry without parental consent. If either applicant is 17 years old, a parent or legal guardian must grant consent in person before the clerk. Applicants 15 or 16 years old may marry if they're pregnant or have a child, but a superior court judge's permission is necessary. No one age 14 and younger may marry.

The clerk may deny you a marriage license if you apply under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or appear of unsound mind. The clerk (or their deputy) alone will make this judgment. (Only a court order may override them.) Indiana bans first or second cousins from marrying each other unless they're 65 years old or older.

There's no waiting period. Meaning you'll get your marriage license right after applying. With the freedom to marry without delay. But you'll face a ticking clock since your license will only stay valid for 60 days from issuance. If you don't marry within 60 days, your license will expire and you must apply for another and repay the application fees.

When appearing together with your future spouse, bring proper identification. This includes ID that verifies your name and date of birth. State law elevates birth certificates as the preferred form of ID. (It's required for minors.) But unexpired, government-issued photo ID is acceptable too, such as a driver's license, passport, or military ID card.

You must provide your social security number (SSN) when applying. (Assuming you have one.) The application will ask that you document your earlier marriages. Have their end dates ready. Some counties may ask to review a certified copy of the divorce decree from your last marriage. Especially if it ended within the past 60 days.

Indiana law requires that your immediate family's genealogical information get collected for the State Library. This includes your parents' current and birth names, places or birth, and last known addresses. If you have dependent children, disclose their names too.

An Indiana marriage license costs $18 for Indiana residents. The price rockets to $60 if you're both from out-of-state. Only one needs to show proof of residency to pay the lower price point. Take note, various counties may tack on an extra $2 "document storage fee."

You can get (buy is more accurate) a certified copy of your marriage certificate after you've married and returned your completed license to the clerk for recording. The certificate proves that your marriage is legal in the state of Indiana. It's the evidence required to notify different government agencies that your name is eligible to be changed.

The word is "eligible" since your new name won't appear on the face of your marriage certificate. This missing married name is bewildering for many a newlywed, yet isn't a blockade to your name change voyage. Your certificate proves your right to name change. That's good enough for government agencies.

You can pursue different name change options depending on the name you intend to settle on after marriage. Here are your choices…

Hyphenate

You can simply hyphenate your name with the last name of your spouse's for the happiest compromise you might want to build your marriage on.

Maiden to middle

You can make your maiden name your new middle name, and then absorb the last name of your husband as your new surname.

Husband adopting the name of his wife

It's not possible for a husband to take the name of his wife using the marriage certificate in Indiana. But a husband can adopt his wife's name by following a court ordered name change procedure (covered later).

Divorce name change

During marriage dissolution, lots of things need to be handled, such as child support and custody, and dividing both liabilities and assets. Reverting to a prior name is worth considering too. During divorce proceedings, the husband cannot force his wife to keep his last name. Nor can he force her to change her name against her will.

Indiana makes name change after divorce easy and cost-free. But it's not automatic. Your name will only reverse if you ask for it in your dissolution petition. The court limits your choices to prior names only: birth or maiden name, or changes from a former marriage. Even if your final divorce decree restores your old name, you're not obligated to make the switch for real. Name change is optional. The court doesn't care or track your decision.

The wife can still seek a name change if it's missing from the divorce petition. But the process morphs and becomes more time-consuming. In case the husband has filed the dissolution petition, he might not think about restoration of the maiden name of his soon-to-be ex-wife.

She has to take one further step to get her maiden name back by filing her own cross divorce petition once her soon-to-be ex-husband has filed his. The court will then have the chance to rule that she gets her earlier name back.

There's still hope if you didn't ask the judge to restore your maiden name or preferred former name and you were the first to file for divorce. If the dissolution remains underway, you can get the divorce petition amended to add your revert preference. If the court has finalized your divorce, you have no choice but to file a legal adult name change petition in your local court.

Bottom line, anyone who wants to change their name after divorcing should express their desire in writing through the divorce petition. Or at least chime in during the divorce process and not after.

General adult name change

When petitioning for a legal adult name change in Indiana, the required forms need to be filed with the circuit court. These forms include the Name Change Petition, among others. Court-petitioned name changes should be a last resort if you can't get it done through marriage or divorce.

Once you have your forms, appear before an Indiana notary public for authorization. Take the notarized forms to the county court closest to your residence. You must make your change of name public within the State of Indiana by publishing a Public Name Change Notice in a local newspaper. Newspapers handle these requests often enough and will help you. Your advert must run once per week for three straight weeks.

The court requires newspaper proof of publication from the local publication where it ran. The Proof of Publication the newspaper fills will show the period they published the advert, confirming that you fulfilled the public notification step.

Take your completed, required documents to the set hearing, including the Order for Name Change form. If the court grants your name change request, this "Order" (court order) will be the form used to update your name across governmental and nongovernmental institutions.

Child name changes

The steps for changing the name of a minor in Indiana are similar to adult name changes. Visit the county circuit court where you live to collect the verified change of name petition for a child, including parental consent forms with instructions on how to fill them out.

Complete the parent or legal guardian consent form by detailing your name and address for delivery of legal documents. Continue with details of the minor's current name, new name, address, date of birth, and reasons the name change is needed. Attach proof of U.S. citizenship, such as the child's birth certificate. Make sure you sign and date the form.

The consent and petition forms can now be filed with the circuit court of your county. Always ask for stamped copies. There's a filing fee that varies from one county to the next as you wait for an entire week before your case proceeds.

You should contact a local newspaper within the county where the petition is filed to arrange publication. The notice must include the petitioner's name, filing date, the child's current and new name, the court's name, case number, and time and date of the petition's hearing and location. You should expect the notice to bear words to the effect that anyone can raise objections to the petition.

The advert has to run for three consecutive weeks, once per week. After the newspaper has published your notice in full, get a publication affidavit from the paper, and then wait 30 days before resuming the minor name change procedure.

File the publication proof by attaching the copy of the notice to the publication affidavit, pay fees, and take the forms to the circuit court for filing. During the hearing, the child's name will be legally changed once the petition is granted. The court will issue a court order if the petition goes through.

Change of name on birth certificate

You can change the name on your Indiana birth certificate if your name change petition has been granted by the court and you've received a court order to that effect. Start by making a copy of your original birth certificate with all the information on it visible.

The cost of the name change is $10 or thereabouts, payable by check to the Indiana State Department of Health. Include the original birth certificate copy and the name change court order via mail. Your new birth certificate bearing your new name will get delivered by postal mail once your paperwork and payment have cleared.

The fee changes from one county to the next if you opt to send the documents for birth certificate name change to your local vital records department instead of the state-level office. For instance, the update and reissue fee in Fort Wayne-Allen County is $12.

Name change on your social security, BMV, passport, IRS

To change your name with the Social Security Administration (SSA), make sure you have completed the SS-5 form, known as the Application for a Social Security Card. Take your name change document and identification in person or sent via mail to the office of social security in your locality.

After you've changed the name on your social security card, you don't have to approach the IRS since they get notified by Social Security of the change within 10 days. Make certain you tell your employers of your new name for proper tax filing purposes.

After changing your name with Social Security, appear in person in the local Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) and have your driver's license and car registration updated with your new name. You cannot complete this online or by mail.

Non-governmental institutions

Do the same for nongovernmental organizations, such as your insurance company, financial institutions, such as banks and credit cards, and other professional documents where your old name lingers.

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