Name changes are common in instances of marriage, divorce, adoption, gender identity, and fixing errors. To help ensure the process is executed smoothly, contact the experienced attorneys at Bassett Murray Law Group in Ann Arbor, Michigan, at (734) 930-9200.
Before you can have a name change approved, the Michigan courts require that you live in the county where you file the name change petition for at least one year.
The 5 Steps in the Name Change Process
Changing your name or your child’s name requires a series of five linear steps:
- Filling out a form (referred to as a petition)
- Paying court fees
- Undergoing a criminal background check
- Publishing a notice of a name change hearing
- Attending the hearing
After the name change is complete, the person must take steps to change their driver’s license or state ID, their social security account, and request a new birth certificate reflecting the new name.
Name Change Form and Requirements
The first step in any name change is to complete a form called a “Petition to Change Name” or form PC51, which you will submit to the circuit court in the county of your official residence. If you are filing for a name change on behalf of a minor (someone under age 18), the form must be submitted to the court of his or her residence.
When you file the petition, it must include the following:
- An explanation of the reasons for the request
- Proof that the name change is not motivated by fraudulent reasons
- Fingerprints for any petitioner 22 years of age or older
About Name Changes for Fraudulent Reasons
Name changes can be problematic if you, the petitioner, have a criminal record. In these situations, the court presumes the name change is requested to aid in a fraud, such as hiding from law enforcement or concealing an illegal act.
The barrier to name changes when you have a criminal record is tough to overcome but not insurmountable, especially with the help of a name change attorney.
Even if you do not have a criminal record, the court will need assurances that you are not changing your name to avoid or deceive creditors.
The Name Change Hearing
Once you’ve filed the necessary documentation and paid the fees, a hearing date will be published to give the public an opportunity to intervene or object if there is a suspicion of fraudulent intent.
If the hearing is successful, you will receive an order that authorizes you to obtain a new birth certificate, marriage certificate, and other necessary documents for identification.
Name Changes for Minors
If the name change request is filed for a minor, there are additional requirements.
- For children under age 14: The request must come from the natural or adopted parent, and both parents must jointly consent to the name change if both are still alive and legally able to provide consent.
- For children over age 14: In addition to the above requirements, the child must sign and consent to the name change in court.
Contact an Ann Arbor Name Change Attorney Today
If you have questions about changing your name or your child’s name, contact Bassett Murray Law Group, PLLC, in Ann Arbor, for legal assistance. You can call the law office at (734) 930-9200 or request a consultation online.