Want to Change Your Name?


It is not uncommon for people to change their name due to marriage, divorce, or any other reason including having a name that is commonly misspelled. In the state of Indiana, you generally have a right to change your name legally so long as you are not trying to defraud anyone, particularly creditors.

Our interns are eager to help you with this process.

What Are My Options?

Preferred Name

As of December 2014, IU students are able to apply to use a preferred name, rather than a legal name, on their school identification card.

While your primary name will remain your legal identifier and will be used for your official academic record, grade rosters, and transcripts, your preferred name will be used for class grade recording and for your school ID.

Legal Name

It is also possible to obtain a court-ordered name change which will allow you to change your birth certificate, passport, social security card, and government issued identification.

You can change your name if you:

  1. are 17 years old
  2. are a U.S. citizen
  3. are not trying avoid creditors

What Is The Process?

In order to legally change your name, you:

  • First have to fill out a Notice of Petition for Change of Name and file it with Clerk of the Court. The Clerk will process the form, stamp it with a filing date, and return it to you. The Court will set a date when you file your Petition; make sure this date is filled in on the Notice.
  • You will then need to take this Petition and file a notice of intent to change your name with the local newspaper. This notice must be published in the newspaper once a week for three weeks, with the last publication at least 30 days before the hearing.
  • The newspaper will then send you a proof of publication notice, which you must attach to the Notice of Filing Proof of Publication and file these materials with the Court.
  • The Petition will then be set for hearing before a judge who, after verifying that you are an eligible applicant, will enter the order to officially change your name.
  • The next best steps include: contacting the Social Security Ad-ministration, updating any government issued ID, and contacting your healthcare providers, financial institutions, and Indiana University regarding your name change.

Note: The process will vary state by state on how to change your birth certificate depending on where you were born. SLS can help you with this process.

Commonly Asked Questions

Q: What is the cost of a court ordered name change?
A: The cost will vary depending on where you file. The cost of publication is extra and is set by the local newspaper you choose to publish in.

Q: What do I need to bring to the court hearing?
A: You will need to bring your driver’s License (or other state issued identification) and a copy of your birth certificate, or a passport to the hearing.

Q: Can I change my children’s names?
A: If you want to change the name of your children (if they are minors), you may, with the consent of their other parent, or by proving to the court that is in their best interest to have their names changed.

Q: What takes place at a name change hearing?
A: You will be sworn in under oath before the judge. You will then be asked where you were born, what your citizenship is, how long you have resided in the jurisdiction, what your age is, and if you are required to register as a sex offender. You will be also asked to confirm that you are not changing your name to avoid or defraud creditors. The hearing is usually very brief.

Q: What else do I need to know about changing my name?
A: Once your name has been changed, it is your responsibility to inform government agencies, your employer, your creditors, and other interested agencies and businesses of your new name.

Q: Can I change my name without going through the formal legal process?
A: In general, yes, as long as the new name is used consistently and without any intent to defraud others.

Q: I know someone that is changing their name, how can I be supportive?
A: The Human Rights Commission recommends that you use the name, title and pronoun that the person asks you to use.