For LGBTQ+ individuals, changing your name is the final step in a long-fought battle in finding yourself. However, it can be more complicated than for others changing their name, like a married woman changing her last name to her Indianapolis, Indiana, husband.
When you begin pulling the documents from the court’s website, you will notice that the court uses the term, pro se. This means that you represent yourself, without a Hendricks County lawyer. You can try to do this on your own, or you can hire an attorney to manage this for you. Ultimately, how you proceed is up to you.
LGBTQ+ minors where the parents agree
For a LGBTQ+ minor (less than 17 years of age) who wants to change their name, there are a few things the court will look at before granting the request. The first is whether the Hamilton County parents agree. If they do, the next will be whether the minor child is in jail or prison. If so, and both parents agree, the paperwork and court proceeding should be fairly straightforward.
LGBTQ+ minors where the parents do not agree
Name changes usually require both Marion County parents to consent. However, that is not the case if one parent abandoned the child, has failed to communicate significantly with them, if the parent committed a crime against them or if the parent has disappeared. However, the requesting parent can also ask the judge to waive the notice requirement too.
Indiana family law judges have wide discretion on whether to grant name changes, especially if there are not objections from the other parent. Keep in mind that the judge will always keep the best interests of the child in mind, which may or may not include what the child wants.
Best interests of the child
To determine the best interests of the child, Indiana family law judges factor in whether the child already uses the name, how long they have used the name, the difficulties in not using the name anymore, harassment, embarrassment, motives, parental interests, etc. You can help in this demonstration by submitting evidence showing that your child needs this name change. Evidence includes testimony and letters from Indianapolis metro area friends, family, teachers and other loved ones attesting and confirm to the preferred name, the child’s gender identity, etc.