Michigan Name Change Forms – How to Change Your Name in MI

Updated January 23, 2023

A Michigan name change form enables anyone who has been a resident of their county for at least twelve (12) months to legally change their name. It is extremely common for an individual to change their surname in connection with a marriage or divorce and this be can easily accomplished. For any other name change, a Petition to Change Name Form must be filed with the subject’s circuit court in order to schedule a court hearing for the name change. A name change request that is made for any legal purpose will generally be approved. However, if the person has a previous conviction, the court will assume that the request is for fraudulent purposes unless the petitioner can convince them otherwise. In order for anyone under the age of eighteen (18) to change their name, they must first obtain both of their parents consent; and if a minor is fourteen (14) years old or older, they must give their consent in order for their parents to have their name changed.

Laws – §711.1§552.391

Table of Contents

Name Change After Marriage

If an individual wishes to take their spouse’s surname, this name change can be included with their application for a marriage certificate. Once their marriage has taken place and the officiant has signed the marriage certificate, the subject will be able to use a certified copy of this certificate as a proof of name change in order to update all of their accounts, registrations, and IDs.

Name Change After Divorce

In accordance with §552.391, a woman involved in a divorce may change her name as a part of the court proceedings and have the name change recorded in her divorce decree. Under this rule, a woman can revert to her birth name or assume any last name as long as they aren’t doing so for fraudulent purposes. Men in Michigan are not permitted to change their name as a part of the divorce process. Instead, they must file a petition for name change with their Circuit Court. If a woman wishes to change her name after a divorce has already taken place, she also must file a petition with the court.

Adult Name Change (No Marriage or Divorce)

In order for an adult (at least eighteen (18) years of age) to change their name in Michigan, they must meet the following criteria:

  • Be a Michigan resident for at least 12 months
  • Be a resident of their county for at least 12 months
  • Not be requesting a name change for fraudulent purposes
  • Not have a criminal record (unless they can provide sufficient legal justification for a name change)

Most requests for a name change will be accepted, however, a person cannot change their name to a curse word, a racial slur, or to a name which is deliberately confusing (for instance a name that contains punctuation or numerals).

Step 1 – Fill-in Petition to Change Name – Form PC51

First, the petitioner must obtain and fill out Form PC 51 – Petition to Change Name. Once the petition has been completed, the petitioner should make a copy of it to keep for their records.

Step 2 – Arrange to Have Fingerprints Taken

Residents who are twenty-two (22) years of age or older will be required to have their fingerprints taken at a local police agency and have a criminal background check performed on them. If an individual is older than eighteen (18) and younger than twenty-two (22) years of age, they are not required to perform either the fingerprinting procedure or background check. When a petitioner presents themselves at the police agency for fingerprinting, they should bring a copy of their Petition to Change Name. Once there, the individual should request an RI-8 form to fill out before providing their fingerprints.

Next, these documents will be sent to the Michigan Department of State Police. The police department will compare the individual’s fingerprinting form to their records before forwarding them to the FBI to investigate further, a process which usually takes three (3) to five (5) weeks. Any result of the background check will be sent to the court at which the person filed their petition.

Step 3 – Pay Fingerprinting and Background Check Fee

The law enforcement agency that takes the individual’s fingerprints will charge a fee both for the fingerprint card and for the background check. Fees for fingerprinting range from $5 to $10 and the price for background checks is $42. Payments should be in the form of a check or money order made out to the State of Michigan.

Step 4 – Gather Documents

Before going to their local Court Clerk, the petitioner must assemble the following documents:

  • Petition to Change Name
  • Valid state-issued photo ID or passport
  • Self-addressed envelope with prepaid postage

Step 5 – File Documents with Circuit Court

The petitioner must present themselves in person before the Court Clerk, identify themselves, and submit their Petition to Change Name; the self-addressed envelope should be given to them to be sent back to the petitioner with the notice of their court date.

Step 6 – Pay Filing Fee

When submitting their form, the individual will have to pay a filing fee to the court (see Michigan Civil Court Fees). The cost may vary depending on the county in which the petitioner resides, so they should contact their local court in order to obtain the pricing in their area. If a petitioner is unable to pay the filing fee, they may fill out and submit the MC-20 Fee Waiver Form in order to request that their fee be waived. To make the name change process faster for petitioners, some courts give the option for a petitioner to pay the publication fee at this juncture.

Step 7 – Publication of Name Change

Unless the judge sees sufficient reason to keep a name change private, the petitioner must publish a notice of their name change in a local newspaper. This gives the public an opportunity to object to the name change. After the notice has been published, the newspaper will send a publication affidavit to the petitioner or court. Most newspapers have their own publication affidavit form, if they do not, the Proof of Publication Affidavit should be sent to them in addition to a certified copy of the subject’s Petition for Name Change. Once the name change has been published, the petitioner should make sure that the court receives a copy of the completed affidavit and the published notice.

Step 8 – Pay Publication Fee

Some courts may allow the petitioner to pay for publication at the circuit court. Otherwise, the petitioner will be invoiced by the newspaper that publishes their name change. Publication fees will vary depending on the newspaper, but petitioners should be prepared to pay upwards of $80.

Step 9 – Attend Hearing

Once the judge has received the result of the petitioner’s criminal background check, they will schedule a hearing for the name change petition to be heard. On the date of their hearing, the petitioner must present themselves in court and should bring two (2) copies of all of their documents in case a copy is requested. The judge will ask the individual to give their reasons for changing their name and swear an oath that they are not doing so for fraudulent purposes. Upon approval, the judge will stamp a court order which declares the individual’s name to be legally changed (PC 52). The petitioner must then obtain at least one (1) certified copy of the court order authorizing their name change.

Driver’s License

In order for residents to change the name on their driver’s license, they must present themselves at a Secretary of State (SOS) Office with their current driver’s license and a certified copy of one (1) of the following documents:

  • Court order for name change
  • Marriage certificate
  • Divorce Decree

After paying the required fee ($9), the subject will have their photograph taken or be issued a duplicate of their current driver’s license with the updated name.

Voter Registration

Once an individual’s name has been legally changed, they will need to update their voter registration to reflect this. In order to do this, residents must fill out the Michigan Voter Registration Application, indicating that they are using the form to change their registered name and providing their new name. Once completed, this form must be mailed or presented in person at the subject’s city or township clerk, along with a photo ID or proof of address that displays their new name (using a photocopy for applications sent by mail).

Minor (Child) Name Change

No person residing in Michigan who is less than eighteen (18) years old may change their name without their parent’s permission. Furthermore, unless they have been negligent in providing child support or have been uncommunicative, both legal parents must consent to the name change. The Petition for Name Change must be filed by the minor’s legal parents or custodians.

Step 1 – Fill-in Petition to Change Name – Form PC51

To begin the name change process for a minor, the Form PC 51 – Petition to Change Name should be filled out and signed by either both of the minor’s parents, their surviving parent, or their legal guardian, depending on the situation. Both parents must sign the document except under the following circumstances:

  • One (1) or both parents are deceased
  • One (1) or both parents are mentally incompetent
  • One (1) parent hasn’t been making child support payments
  • One (1) parent hasn’t been in contact during the previous two (2) years

Step 2 – Fill-in Minor’s Consent to Change Name – Form PC51b

If the minor is of fourteen (14) years of age or more, they must give their consent to the name change by filling out the PC 51b – Minor’s Consent to Change Name. This form should be filled out by the minor in the presence of the court or a public notary in advance of the court hearing. Therefore, if the child will be present in court, the document should not be signed until the date of the court hearing.

Step 3 – Notarize Minor’s Consent to Change Name – PC51b

Unless the minor will appear at the court hearing, the consent form must be notarized by a notary public. For this to be accomplished, the minor must sign the document in front of a registered notary, who must add their signature and notary seal.

Step 4 – Gather Documents

Before going to the circuit court, the person filing a petition on the minor’s behalf should assemble the following documents:

  • Petition to Change Name
  • Minor’s Consent to Change Name (to be signed in the presence of the court or pre-signed and notarized)
  • Parent/guardian’s valid state-issued photo ID or passport
  • Copy of minor’s birth certificate
  • Self-addressed envelope with prepaid postage

Step 5 – File Documents with Circuit Court

Next, the parent or guardian must file the petition with their local circuit court. The Court Clerk will ask for identification and will need the Petition to Change Name and a copy of the minor’s birth certificate in order to file the petition. Once they have set a court date for the minor’s name change court hearing, the person filing the petition will receive notice by mail.

Step 6 – Pay Filing Fee

The cost for filing a name change varies from one court to another; generally the cost is around $150 (see Michigan Civil Court Fees). If this fee cannot be afforded by the person filing the petition, they can apply to avoid paying these fees by completing the MC-20 Fee Waiver Form and submitting it to their circuit court.

Step 7 – Publication of Name Change

Notice of the minor’s name change hearing must be published in the local newspaper a minimum of four (4) weeks before the hearing date. However, publication will not be required if it puts either the minor or another person’s safety in danger. Once the publication has been accomplished, the newspaper will send the circuit court a proof of publication, if the newspaper does not have their own form, the petitioner should provide them with the standard Proof of Publication Affidavit to use. If one (1) of the minor’s parents could not be contacted prior to filing the minor’s name change petition, their name should be mentioned in the published notice.

Step 8 – Pay Publication Fee

The publication fee must be paid by the person filing the petition and often costing around $80. Publication is sometimes handled by the circuit court, in which case the publication fee can often be paid when filing a name change petition.

Step 9 – Attend Hearing

On the scheduled date of hearing, at least one (1) of the minor’s parents or legal guardians must present themselves at court with both the Petition to Change Name and, if the minor is fourteen (14) years of age or older, the notarized Minor’s Consent to Change Name. If the consent form is not notarized, the minor must swear their consent and sign the document in the court. After reviewing the petition, if there are no objections and the request is legitimate, the judge will sign and stamp a court order (PC 52) thus providing their authorization for the legal name change.