Changing Your Name In Michigan 

Please note: This web site is made available by Arbor Therapy Solutions, its owners, and its members for educational purposes only, as well as to give you general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By using this web site you understand that there is no legal relationship between you and the web site publishers. The web site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in Michigan or your state/province.

 

Two Paths, Same Result

You have two basic options for changing your name in Michigan: you can seek the assistance of a lawyer or you can go through the process on your own. People generally seek the services of an attorney if they have a history of legal complications (misdemeanors, felonies, previous name changes, do not meet residency requirements) or if they find the process too daunting. If you live in the southeast Michigan area, near Detroit or Ann Arbor, the Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund provides free legal assistance with name change proceedings. If you are interested in navigating this process on your own, the steps outlined below will provide you with some assistance. (The length of this looks intimidating; we've attempted to elaborate on all the possible details.)


Step One: Complete and File the Petition to Change Name

What you need to know: 

  • You can get a copy of the petition here.
  • You will file this petition in the courthouse in the county where you live.
  • If you live in Wayne County, there is an additional form to fill out; contact the Wayne County Clerk to find out how to obtain that. 
  • You must live in your county for one year before you can file your Petition to Change Name there. 
  • The cost to file a Petition to Change Name varies; it's about $150. 
  • When you are done filling out the Petition, make extra copies (5); ask the clerk to timestamp them when you file. It's a good idea to have proof of every step you take.
  • Ask the clerk about your county's court date scheduling process. Will they notify you once they receive your background check, or will you have to check in with them?
 
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Step Two: Fingerprints and Background Checks

What you need to know: 

  • This step is only necessary if you are 22+ years old.
  • Go to your local Michigan law enforcement agency and ask to be printed on a Michigan Applicant Card (Form RI-8).
  • The cost to get fingerprinted varies based on your local agency, but averages around $10-25.
  • Complete the form fields on the card entirely. 
    -- In Segment E "other" block, write "name change." 
    -- Mark the box under "search requirements" for FBI & State. 
    -- The name of your court must be written in Segment F "send response to."
  • Mail the fingerprint card, a copy of your Petition to Change Name, and a check or money order for $42.00 (Made out to State of Michigan) to:
    Michigan State Police, CJIC
    Identification Section
    PO Box 30266
    Lansing, MI  48909
  • Allow approximately 3 to 5 weeks for both the State and FBI responses to be returned to the court. 
  • The State Police will report its findings and any information it got from the FBI to the court where you filed your petition. No additional steps can take place until this happens. If you have no pending charges or criminal record, the state police will destroy its copy of your fingerprints. 

Step Three: Schedule a Hearing

What you need to know: 

  • Your hearing can be scheduled as soon as your county court has the completed background checks from the State Police. 
  • When you file your petition, ask about the scheduling process. Some courts will send you a Notice of Hearing with a date & time chosen for you. Others require you to call and schedule. Others may have different procedures altogether. 
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Step Four: Publication of Notice of Hearing

What you need to know: 

  • Once you have a hearing date, you need to make your intent to change you name public. This notifies debtors or other people with whom you have a legal relationship that such a change is happening. 
  • Most people complete at Publication of Notice of Hearing form and file it with the Legal News in the county where they live. 
  • It is also possible to publish such a notice in your local newspaper. This requires you to obtain a copy of the notice and file it with your courthouse. 
  • Assuming you file your notice with the Legal News, they will inform you of the jurisdictional publishing requirements, aka, how far in advance of your hearing date you need to publish your Notice of Hearing.
  • Once you have paid them ($80 or so), Legal News will mail you an Affidavit of Publication that you will file with the court. You can wait until the day of your hearing, but it is suggested that you file it before hand to be better prepared. 

Step Five: The Hearing

What you need to know: 

  • Arrive on time. Bring money for any last minute fees. (e.g. Entry of Order Fee, copies of the original order)
  • The Judge will not be unkind to you. They are not going to be critical of your reason for changing your name. This is very routine for them. You will likely be surprised at how matter of fact they are about the proceedings. 
  • Obtain at least one original copy of the official Order of Name Change while at the court, preferably 2-3. You will have to pay for the extra copies, but as you begin the notification process, you will find some organizations require their own original copies. 
 
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Step Six: Notification

Remember to notify the following organizations, individuals, and governing bodies of your name change: 

  • Social Security Administration
  • Secretary of State
  • Employer/School
  • Insurance Companies
  • Bank
  • Creditors
  • Anyone/Everyone else you can think of!

Information in this section gathered with assistance from the writings of Erica Moise, PLLC and the Michigan State Police website.