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Probate / Family Court

Probate / Family Court

HOW DO I COMPLETE A NAME CHANGE?


Instructions for Legal Name Change of a Person 22 years of Age or Older
This procedure applies to any person filing a Petition to Change Name who is 22 years of age or older at the time of filing the petition in Monroe County:
 Complete the Petition to Change Name form (Form PC 51).
  • At the time of filing, the individual whose name is to be changed MUST have been a resident of Michigan and Monroe County for at least one year prior the filing.
  • This form should include any changes in first, middle, and last names that are requested.
  • Make sure that all information is legible and truthful. A false statement that is intentionally included on a name change petition constitutes perjury under Section 422 of the Michigan Penal Code (1931 PA 328, MCL 750.422).
  • The name change cannot be requested for any fraudulent purpose.
  • Sign the document. Your spouse must also sign if you are requesting a change of name for your spouse.
  • Keep at least one copy of your completed petition.
To request that the State Registrar create a new birth certificate, check box #9.
  • If you were born in Michigan, the forms to change the birth certificate are available at the Clerk’s Office after the hearing.
  • If you were born in another state, check with that state for acceptable documentation to create a new birth certificate.
If you are married and are requesting a name change not only for yourself, but also your spouse, he/she must sign the petition under Consent by Spouse of Petitioner in front of a notary.
 File the petition with the Monroe County Clerk’s office with the appropriate filing fee.
  • Payment can be by cash or money order payable to Monroe County Clerk. The amount is $175.
  • There is an additional fee for publishing notice of the name change hearing. This can be made payable to Monroe Evening News. The amount is $72.00.
  • All legal name changes MUST be published in the Monroe Evening News, except by court order under strict exceptions set forth by law.
  • ALL FEES ARE NON-REFUNDABLE.
 Note: Pursuant to the Supreme Court Administrative Office, all name changes should be heard by the judge within 91 days from the date of filing the petition. Therefore, it is imperative that you complete steps 5, 6 and 7 promptly.
 Obtain a fingerprinting application card (RI-8 form) from your local police agency.
  • Take the copy of your completed petition with you. There is a filing fee of $20.00 for the fingerprinting and $43.25 for the Michigan State Police to conduct a background check.
  • Fill out section D through F on the back of the card.
  • In section E, check the box next to “Other.” Type or print “Name Change” in the space provided.
  • Check “FBI & State” under the Search Requirement section.
  • In Section F, fill in that the response be sent to:
Monroe County Clerk’s Office
106 E. First Street
Monroe, MI 48161
Attn: Name Change

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Instructions for Legal Name Change of a Person Under 22 years of Age
This procedure applies to any person filing a Petition to Change Name who is under the age of 22 years at the time of filing the petition in Monroe County:
 Complete the Petition to Change Name form (Form PC 51).
  • At the time of filing, the individual whose name is to be changed MUST have been a resident of Michigan and Monroe County for at least one year prior to the filing.
  • This form should include any changes in first, middle, and last names that are requested.
  • Make sure that all information is legible and truthful. A false statement that is intentionally included on a name change petition constitutes perjury under Section 422 of the Michigan Penal Code (1931 PA 328, MCL 750.422).
  • The name change cannot be requested for any fraudulent purpose.
  • Sign the document.
  • Keep at least one copy of your completed petition.
  If you are married and are requesting a name change not only for yourself, but also a spouse and/or your child(ren) of whom you have legal custody, you need to obtain the proper notarized or witnessed signatures evidencing consent.
  • Your spouse. If you are seeking to change your spouse’s name as well as your own, your spouse must sign the petition under Consent by Spouse of Petitioner in front of a notary.
  • Fourteen-to-seventeen-year-olds. If you are seeking to change the name of a minor of 14-17 years of age, he or she must sign a consent to the name change in open court. MCL 711.1(5). This form (PC 51b) will also be signed by the judge at the hearing.
  • Children younger than fourteen. Be advised that the name of a minor under 14 years of age may not be changed unless:
  • -He or she is the natural or adopted child of the petitioner; and
-Consent through notarized signature on the petition is obtained from the mother and father jointly, from the surviving parent if one is deceased, or from one of the minor’s parents if there is only one legal parent available to give consent (such as if paternity has not been legally established).  
 -At the hearing, if the court considers the child to be of sufficient age to express a preference, the court will also consult a minor under 14 years of age as to a change in his or her name, and court shall consider the minor’s wishes. However, a child 7 years of age and under is presumed not to be of sufficient age to be consulted concerning a preference on change of name (MCR 3.613(D)).
Therefore, you should plan on the child attending the hearing if he or she is 8 years of age or older.
 If the petitioner is a minor, follow these additional instructions:
  • Required signatures. The petition shall be signed by the mother and father jointly; by the surviving parent if the other parent is deceased; by the guardian if both parents are deceased; or by one of the minor’s parents if there is only one legal parent available to give consent (such as if legal paternity has not been established).
  • Signatures must be notarized.If either parent has been declared mentally incompetent, the petition may be signed by the guardian for that parent
  • If a parent is deceased or parental rights have been terminated, documentation of this must be              provided at the time of the filing of the petition.
 The Petition to Change Name does not need to be signed by the minor in the court’s presence. However, a minor 14-17 years of age must sign the consent form (PC 51b) in open court before the judge. MCL 711.1(5). The judge signs that form as well.
 Exception to Parental Consent: The name of a minor may be changed with the consent of only the custodial parent, after notice to the noncustodial parent, under two circumstances, which are set forth in paragraph 7(a) and (b) of the petition. At least one of these exceptions must be proven by petitioner to the court’s satisfaction to grant a name change without the non-custodial parent’s consent.
 Separated or divorced parents. Thus, if the parents are divorced or separated, the petitioner must obtain the non-custodial parent’s signature on the petition or on a Waiver/Consent form (PC 561). If a signature showing consent cannot be obtained, petitioner must serve the non-custodial parent with the petition and notice of hearing and prove that one of the exceptions above applies. Follow the instructions in paragraph 7 below regarding service.
To request that the State Registrar create a new birth certificate, check box #9.
  • If you were born in Michigan, the forms to change the birth certificate are available at the Clerk’s Office after the hearing.
  • If you were born in another state, check with that state for acceptable documentation to create a new birth certificate.
 File the petition with the Monroe County Clerk’s office with the appropriate filing fee.
  • Payment can be by cash or money order payable to Monroe County Clerk. The amount is $175.
  • There is an additional and required fee for publishing notice of the name change hearing. This can be made payable to Monroe Evening News.
  • All legal name changes MUST be published in the Monroe Evening News, except by court order under strict exceptions set forth by law, such as when publication would place petitioner or another individual in physical danger (MCL 711.3).
  • ALL FEES ARE NON-REFUNDABLE.
 Note: Pursuant to the Supreme Court Administrative Office, all name changes should be heard by the judge within 91 days from the date of filing the petition. Therefore, it is imperative that you complete step 7 promptly.
 Receive call from clerk; service; publication
  • The court will contact you to schedule a hearing on your Petition to Change Name.
  • If the non-custodial parent has not consented to the name change, he or she MUST be served with the petition and a notice of hearing. Failure to properly serve the other parent will result in denial of the petition. You must file a proof of service (PC 564) with the court evidencing the method and date of service.
 Personal Service is the preferred method of service.
Service by Certified Mail, return receipt requested, delivery restricted to the non-custodial parent is adequate if the party’s signature is on the return receipt and is attached to the proof of service
Service by alternative means, such as by regular first class mail, posting notice on the door or the residence, or by publication, is only permitted upon leave of the court. If you are unaware of the non-custodial parent’s whereabouts or address, or if your efforts at service have been unsuccessful, you MUST FILE A MOTION FOR ALTERNATIVE SERVICE, ACCOMPANIED BY AN AFFIDAVIT EVIDENCING A DILIGENT SEARCH FOR THE INDIVIDUAL. (MC 303).
 This motion may, in the court’s discretion, be granted without a hearing. If the motion is granted, follow the method of service designated by the judge.
A diligent search may include (but is not limited to) the following:
-United States Post Office inquiry through the Freedom of Information Act;
-Checking with friends, relatives, employers, and landlords;
-Checking telephone directories;
-Checking with agencies, such as law enforcement, the Armed Forces, the Department of Corrections, the Friend of the Court, and Department of Health and Human Services; and
-Investigation through the internet and social media sites.

The court will order notice by publication if the noncustodial parent’s address and whereabouts are unknown and cannot be discovered after diligent inquiry. MCR 3.613(C)(2).
 DO NOT PUBLISH ANY NOTICE IN THE NEWSPAPER UNTIL THE COURT RULES ON YOUR MOTION FOR ALTERNATIVE SERVICE. The court may allow service by publication, but the non-custodial parent’s name (and a statement that the result of the hearing may be to bar or affect the noncustodial parent’s interest in the matter) will need to be included in that publication.

-A notice for publication will be prepared by the court to give notice to the public of the proposed name change. It may also be used to give notice to a non-custodial parent, but only upon court order of service by publication on a non-custodial parent. You must take the notice to the Monroe Evening News promptly. It must be published at least 14 days prior to the hearing.
 Attend the hearing.
  • You MUST personally attend the hearing. Hearings are held at the Monroe County Courthouse in the courtroom of your assigned judge.
  • Check in with judge’s secretary, bailiff, or clerk before the scheduled hearing time. Be early. FAILURE TO APPEAR WILL RESULT IN DENIAL OF YOUR PETITION. If an emergency arises and you require an adjournment, call the clerk for instructions.
  • You will need to provide sworn testimony in support of your petition. You must demonstrate a sufficient reason for the proposed name change, and that the change is not sought with fraudulent intent.
  • If you have a criminal record, Michigan law presumes that you are seeking the name change with fraudulent intent. It will be your burden to prove to the court that the name change is not being sought with fraudulent intent.
  • The court may permit an individual having the same or similar name to that which you wish to assume to intervene for the purpose of showing fraudulent intent.
 If your petition is granted, you will be provided with one certified copy of the order granting the legal name change after the hearing.
  • This order is required if you are obtaining a new birth certificate.
  • There will be a fee charged for any additional certified copies requested.
 Be advised that if your name is changed and you have a criminal record, a copy of the order will be sent to the Michigan State Police and one or more of the following: the Department of Corrections, the sheriff of the county in which you were last convicted; and other circuit courts pursuant to Michigan law.