Local Lawyer Love: How to Change Your Name in Michigan
(Erica Moise, Nov. 15, 2015)
I’ve been getting quite a few requests for information regarding how to legally change your name. If you don’t want to hire a lawyer, and you want to do it yourself, I’ve decided to publish the outlined process for everyone below. I’ve also included links for the various forms/resources. Some things vary from county to county, so make sure you inquire about what their process looks like. Otherwise, this should serve as a general picture of the process.
- You must live in the county you are filing in for at least a year
- Fill out and file the Petition to Change Name (you can find that Petition here: http://courts.mi.gov/…/SCAO/…/courtforms/namechange/pc51.pdf). In Wayne County, there is an extra form to fill out. Contact their clerk to find out how to obtain it. Petition fees are usually between $150-$160 depending on the county you live in. When you are done filling out the Petition, print at least 4-5 copies and have the clerk timestamp them when you file.
- After you file and pay for the Petition, if you are 22 years old or older, you must have a criminal background check done.
First, get fingerprinted at a local police agency. The cost to get fingerprinted will vary depending on the agency. Check with your local agency about the cost. Then mail your fingerprints, a copy of your Petition to Change Name, and check or money order for $44.75 (made out to the State of Michigan) to:
Michigan State Police, CRD,
P.O. Box 30266,
Lansing, Michigan 48909
It is always a good idea to confirm the address before sending your information and payment. To confirm the address and more information about the process, go to the Michigan State Police Department website at www.michigan.gov/msp.
The state police will forward a second copy of your fingerprints to the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI). It usually takes three to five weeks to complete the background check.
The state police department will report its findings and any information it got from the FBI to the court where you filed your petition. The court will not schedule a hearing for your name change until it gets the report from the state police. If you have no pending charges or criminal record, the state police will destroy its copy of your fingerprints.
- After the court receives the report from the state police, a hearing will be scheduled. Some courts require you to call and schedule it. Other courts will schedule it for you and send you a Notice of Hearing. You can ask the court clerk about scheduling your hearing when you file your petition.
- Once you have a hearing date, you need to fill out the Publication of Notice of Hearing (you can find that form here: http://courts.mi.gov/…/s…/forms/courtforms/probate/pc563.pdf) and contact the Legal News in the county you live in (contact the Legal News to see what the process/cost is in your area. Here is their contact info: http://www.legalnews.com/) to have them publish the notice of hearing. The cost for that is roughly $70-$80 depending on where you publish. Make sure you get it published within the requisite time frame before the hearing date. When you contact the legal news, ask them what the requirement is in that jurisdiction for publishing the notice in a timely fashion.
- After you pay for the publication, the Legal News will mail you an Affidavit of Publication that you need to file with the court. You can do that on the day of your hearing. But it might be a good idea to get it to the court before then.
- Attend the hearing at the scheduled time. Bring money with you for entry of the Order fee and for true copies of the Order.
- Once the Judge grants the Order, you will need to pay for a few true copies of the Order. You should get at least two true copies.
[Note: some counties have hardship waivers for the Petition fee. If you feel like you can’t afford the fee, it would be worth your time to contact your county and ask them what their fee waiver process is]
Note: This is a guide based on the process at the time of publication and is not considered legal advice. Please check with each agency for the most up to date rules and procedures, and consult an attorney if needed.
Erica Moise is an attorney at Moise Law, PLLC. Moise also serves as the President of the Stonewall Bar Association of Michigan. You can contact Moise Law, PLLC at (248) 629-0573.