Woman's attempt to change name to escape man thwarted by court rulings

Appeals court affirms trial court's ruling

INDIANAPOLIS - A woman's attempt to escape physical and sexual abuse by the father of one of her children is in conflict with the law, the Court of Appeals of Indiana ruled Thursday.

The court considered the case of the woman, who left Missouri for Indiana to in hopes of evading the man who violated protection orders to track her down and abduct her twice as she lived in homes set up by domestic violence shelters.

The father was convicted of intimidation and domestic battery in the first case, but he removed a GPS monitoring anklet before finding and abducting her a second time.

The woman was able to escape both times, but the father's whereabouts are not known, the court said.

The mother had filed a petition to have her name and the names of her children changed anonymously because she was terrified that he would find them again.

Indiana law requires that name change petitions be published in a newspaper, which doesn't provide for anonymity.

A trial court ruled that the woman's attorneys should have used a provision known as Indiana Administrative Rule 9 to get evidence into the record while still protecting the identities of the woman and children.

Rule 9 specifies that in circumstances involving no-contact orders and restraining orders, that a court order can keep personal information from being made available publicly, but there are several procedures that must be followed to get that protection.

The Court of Appeals agreed the trial court's decision, determining that it was correct in denying the woman's request for anonymous name change.

"Although we sympathize with the mother's difficult situation, because (she) did not employ this strategy, and we do not know what its outcome would have been, we affirm the decision of the trial court," the opinion read.

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