CHANGE OF NAME PROCEDURES
PLEASE READ THIS PACKET BEFORE PROCEEDING
– Your petition will NOT be accepted if it is not completed properly. There is a $175.00 filing fee and a $10.00 order entry fee for a total of $185.00 due at the time of filing. After the hearing you will be given one certified copy of the order changing your name. Any additional copies are $12.00 each.
– The information in this packet is not intended to be legal advice. It is a brief explanation of the basic procedure that is required to obtain a change of name and is not meant to teach you the law.
– You are not required to have an attorney; however, the court cannot act as your attorney. If you do not understand these instructions or the process, you will need to obtain other assistance.
– Probate Court personnel cannot give legal advice about your particular situation or complete your forms for you.
– The information contained here is the onlyinformation court personnel can give you about this procedure.
WAYS THAT A CHANGE OF NAME CAN OCCUR:
1. Correction of the birth certificate.
If there is a mistake on the birth certificate, you may consult with the Michigan Department of Public Health, Vital Records Division, for the proper procedure to correct the mistake at (517) 335-8660 (Mon-Fri 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.)
2. Changing last name after paternity is established.
If the name of the father is not indicated on the birth certificate and the child has the mother’s last name, the last name can be changed to the father’s last name after paternity is established if both parents agree. You may consult with the Michigan Department of Public Health, Vital Records Division, listed above for the proper procedure.
3. Changing name back to maiden name after divorce
A married woman in Michigan does not have to assume the last name of her husband. If the woman does assume the surname of her husband, the judgment of divorce or an amendment to the judgment of divorce can restore her maiden name.
4. Name change in conjunction with an adoption
When an adoption is finalized, the order of adoption will specify the new name. When a certified copy of that order is presented to the Michigan Department of Public Health, a new birth certificate is prepared.
5. Use of nickname or initials
You do not have to obtain a legal name change if you want to use J. Michael Smith rather than John Michael Smith or John M. Smith. However, if you want official identification issued that way, you will need to obtain the change of name through the court process.
6. Court-ordered change of name
If none of the previous explanations fit your situation and you want the birth certificate to have a different name on it for you or your minor child, you may file a Petition to Change Name with the court.
– Must be a resident of Ionia County for not less than one year.
– Petition must be completed properly in blue/black ink or typed and signed by anyone whose names are being changed, age 14 years or older.
– Must show sufficient reason for the requested change.
– The name change is not being sought for fraudulent intent.
– If the person seeking the name change has a criminal record, it is presumed that it is with a fraudulent intent and the burden of proof is on the petitioner to rebut the presumption.
– The court may permit a person having the same name, or a similar name to that which the petitioner proposes to assume, to intervene in the proceeding for the purpose of showing fraudulent intent.
– For the name change of a minor, must have the consent of the noncustodial parent,
Provide proof that the noncustodial parent has been convicted of child abuse (MCL 750.136b), criminal sexual conduct (MCL 750.520b,750.520c, 750.520d, or 750.520e) or assault with intent to commit criminal sexual conduct (MCL 750.520g) and the child or a sibling of the child was the victim
Must show the noncustodial parent has had the ability to visit, contact, or communicate with the child and has regularly and substantially failed to do so for a period of two years or more before the filing of the petition.
A support order has been entered, and the noncustodial parent has failed to substantially comply with the order for a period of two years or more before the filing of the petition.
An order of support has not been entered and the noncustodial parent, having the ability to support or assist in supporting the child, has failed or neglected to provide regular and substantial support for two years or more before the filing of the petition.
– File a Petition to Change Name (PC51) and the filing fee with the Probate Court. The birth certificate, death certificate of a deceased parent, acknowledgement of paternity, custody/support order, if applicable, is required when requesting the change of name for a minor)
– Fingerprinting is required for anyone age 22 years or older asking for a name change. The court will give the petitioner fingerprinting instructions once the Petition to Change Name has been filed.
– The court will set a hearing for approximately 4-6 weeks later to allow for notice to be published.
– The petitioner must publish the notice of hearing once in an Ionia County publication at least two weeks prior to the hearing date. The publication must show the name of the petitioner, the current name of the subject of the petition, the proposed name of the subject of the petition. The petitioner must pay the newspaper for this publication in order for the notice to be published. It is the petitioner’s responsibility to ensure that the newspaper sends an Affidavit of Publication to the court prior to the hearing.
– When petitioning for the name change of a minor, the petitioner must serve a copy of the petition and notice of hearing on the noncustodial parent who has not signed the petition and provide a proof of service to the court. The proof of service will be examined by the court to ensure that proper service was given at least 14 days prior to the hearing date. If the proof of service is not filed prior to the hearing or if proper service was not given, the court will adjourn the hearing to a later date. A new hearing will be set. If proper notice is not given for the second hearing, your petition may be dismissed.
Make all checks payable to: Ionia County Probate Court.
Send to: 100 Main Street
Ionia, MI 48846
Telephone: 616 527 5326
SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS FOR NAME CHANGE
Every person 22 years of age or order whose name appears o the Petition for Name Change must follow these instructions before the court can act on the petition.
Under Michigan law, every person 22 years of age or older who is requesting a name change must have two complete sets of fingerprints taken at a local police agency. Those fingerprints will be used by the Michigan State Police and Federal Bureau of Investigation to check criminal records. The Michigan State Police will send a report to the court regarding any criminal records.
If you have a criminal record, it will be presumed that you are seeking the name change with fraudulent intent. You must prove to the court that the name change is not being sought with fraudulent intent.
– File Petition for Name Change with Probate Court and pay filing fee ($160.00)
– Make 1 copy of the completed Petition for Name Change.
– Take a copy of the completed Petition to your local police agency for the fingerprint card and to have your fingerprints taken. They will advise you of their fee for this service.
– After you have had your fingerprints taken, mail or deliver the copy of the Petition for Name Change, the fingerprint card, and the appropriate fee to the Michigan State Police. The fee must be made payable to the State of Michigan. Mail or deliver to:
Michigan State Police
Criminal Justice Information Center
7150 Harris Drive
Lansing, MI 48913
– The Michigan State Police will review their criminal records and will forward the fingerprints to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Once the Federal Bureau of Investigation has reviewed their records and reported the information to the Michigan State Police, the Michigan State Police will send a report to the court.
– After the court receives the required report from the Michigan State Police, the court can schedule a hearing on your Petition for Name Change
– The court will mail you a notice when the requested report is received. You must give the court a preaddressed, postage paid envelope for mailing this notice.
– Contact the court eight weeks after you mail or deliver your fingerprint card to the Michigan State Police to find out if the required report has been received.