Have you ever wondered how to legally change your name in Michigan? Maybe you’re getting married or divorced, or maybe your parents gave you a name that doesn’t fit who you are today.
The name change Michigan process is a little involved, but not impossible. Read on to learn more about how this process works and what you’ll need to do to get your new name approved.
After Marriage and Divorce
The easiest way to get a legal name change in Michigan is to do it when you get married or divorced. When you get married, sign your new name on your marriage certificate. Then you’ll be able to use that document as legal proof of a Michigan name change to update all your other documents.
If you’re a woman going through a divorce, you may want to know how to change your last name in Michigan. When you get your divorce decree, ask the judge to use either your birth last name or any other last names on the document. If you’re a man, you are not allowed to change your last name during divorce proceedings, but must go through the usual name change process.
Normal Adult Name Change Michigan Requirements
There are a few requirements you must meet to change your name as an adult in Michigan. You must have been a resident of both Michigan and of the county in which you’re changing your name for at least 12 months. You must not be requesting the name change for fraudulent purposes, and you must not have a criminal record; if you do have a criminal record, you’ll need to provide legal justification for the name change.
You’re going to kick off the process of the legal name change by filing Form PC 51. Make sure to make a copy of this form to keep for your records once you’ve filled it out. You can change your name to almost anything as long as it isn’t profane, a racial slur, or deliberately confusing.
Get Fingerprints Done
If you’re older than twenty-two, you’ll need to get fingerprints taken as a part of the name change process. You’ll also need to have a criminal background check run to make sure you aren’t changing your name to escape from debts or crime. When you go down to the police station to get your fingerprints taken, be sure to take your Form PC 51 with you and request a RI-8 form before you give your fingerprints.
Once you have your fingerprints taken, the police will send them to the Michigan Department of State Police and the FBI. There will be a three- to five-week delay while these groups check your fingerprints against their files. Once you’re cleared, both those results and the results of your background check will get sent to the court where you filed your petition to change your name.
Gather and File Documents
Luckily, you don’t have to wait for your fingerprints and background check to come back before you can proceed. You’re going to need to get together some documents to take with you to court. Gather your Form PC51, a valid state-issued photo ID or passport, and a stamped envelope addressed to yourself.
Take your form, ID, and envelope down to the Circuit Court Clerk in your county. You’ll identify yourself, submit your petition to change your name, and give them your stamped envelope. When you get a court date, the clerk will send you a notice back in that stamped envelope.
Publish Your Name Change
In order to make your name change official, you’ll need to publish notice of it in a local newspaper to give anyone in the public the chance to object to your name change. If you believe there’s a reason your name change should be kept private, talk to the judge. If they find sufficient reason, they may waive this requirement.
Once your notice has been published, the newspaper will send a publication affidavit to either you or the court. If the paper you publish with doesn’t already have a publication affidavit, you can send them a Proof of Publication Affidavit along with your Form PC 51. It’s very important that you make sure the court receives the publication affidavit and a copy of the published notice.
Attend Your Hearing
Once the judge gets the results of your background check and fingerprint investigation, they’ll set a date for you to appear in court. Make sure you show up on time and bring two copies of all the documents you’ve handled during the name change process.
The judge will ask you to give your reasons for changing your name and swear an oath that you’re not changing your name to commit fraud of any sort. If they approve everything you say, they’ll stamp a court order declaring your name to be legally changed. You need to make sure you get at least one certified copy of the court order.
After your new name change is approved, you’ll need to notify everyone from your bank to your second cousins.
Update Your Social Security Card and Driver’s License
Once you get your name legally changed, you’ll need to update your name with the social security administration and the department of motor vehicles. To update your name with the SSA, you will need to complete and submit for S-55, and submit the completed form to your local social security office. To change your driver’s license, go to the Secretary of State’s office with your marriage license, your divorce decree, or your court order for your name change. They’ll take your picture and issue you a new license with your updated name.
To update your voter registration, fill out a Michigan Voter Registration Application. You’ll need to note that you’re filling out the form to change your registered name and provide your new name. Then send the form along with a photo ID or an address that shows your new name to your city or township clerk.
Learn How to Change Your Name in Michigan
Knowing how to change your name in Michigan can be important in a number of situations. Make sure you get all your forms filled out and to the appropriate people on time, and always make extra copies. That will make the name change Michigan process much smoother and quicker.
Companies like UpdateMyName.com can help you avoid filling out the same forms a million times. Fill your forms out with them once, and they’ll provide you with a convenient name change kit that will cover all your bases for you.