Just like in many states, you can definitely change your name in Michigan in a simple yet straightforward manner. Nonetheless, there are a number of things you need to know, especially if a legally acceptable name change is what you seek.

Marriage name change

In the state of Michigan, both non-residents and residents can seek a marriage license from the office of their county clerk within the state by fulfilling the statutory requirements of the state.

Before you can change your name through the various options available, such as hyphenation or taking the last name of your spouse, wait for the county clerk to issue you a marriage license.

What you need after marriage is to request a certified copy of your marriage license from the clerk's office within the county of residence where the marriage took place; a fee for the service will be required. You can then take the certified copy of the marriage license to the Social Security Administration and other governmental bodies to change your name with them.

Keep in mind, a certified copy of your marriage license is the same thing as a certified copy of your marriage certificate. It's just different phraseology that refers to the same document.

There are a number of options you can go with to get the name you want after marriage. However, note that in Michigan those who can seek a name change after marriage are brides only and not grooms. The bride has the following options.


The bride can take up the husband's name as the last name and separate it using a hyphen, perhaps if she doesn't want to stop using her maiden name entirely because it's known widely.

Leave name unchanged

You can also decide not to touch your name and leave it as it is after marriage. This is legal in Michigan.

Adopt the surname of the husband

You can also take the surname of your husband and apply it on all records and identifications.

Husband's last name, but keep using maiden name

You can also continue the use of your maiden name, perhaps in various social settings and work related areas while taking the surname of your husband on all records and identifications.

Divorce name change

After marriage, many women take up the last name of their husband's, but after divorce most seek to revert to their maiden names. In Michigan, the woman can revert to her maiden name or a previous name or keep the name of the ex-husband once the divorce has been finalized.

It's also worth noting that the ex-husband cannot force the ex-wife to seek a name change, nor can a judge, and the change has to be as voluntary as possible.

In case you would like to seek a name change during the divorce process, you need to indicate it in the complaint for divorce you are about to make. No additional steps would be required or extra charge if you include the name change as a part of the divorce complaint.

Certified copy of divorce decree

A certified copy of your finalized divorce decree is the legal document you'll need to complete the name change with various federal, state, and non-governmental institutions.

After changing the last name through divorce proceedings, it's important that you continue to notify the Social Security Administration as well as the state's Secretary of State's office, banks, credit card companies and other bodies that need to be alerted after a name change.

To save money and time, seek your name change in Michigan during the divorce process. If you don't, you'll have to petition the court for a full-blown adult name change.

General adult name change

You can seek to change your name in the state of Michigan as long as you have lived in the county of your residency for at least 12 months. Legally changing your name requires a completion of form PC 51, which is titled the Petition to Change Name. The form has to be filed with the county's circuit court.

Name change for fraudulent purposes

It's worth noting that seeking to change your name with the intention of defrauding anyone will not be allowed. Those who have a criminal past and seeking name change are generally considered to be changing their names to commit fraud. Thus, it's important to really convince the court that the request you are making to seek a name change is not for fraud, otherwise the request will be rejected.

Circuit Court of residency

Name change in Michigan is done in the Circuit Court in the county where you reside. To effectively complete the petition, you need to complete as required the form for Petition to Change Name and file it within your county's Circuit Court. As previously stated, the form is called PC 51.


The filing fee has to be paid, which is about $150. For those 22 years old and above who want to change their names, they are required to have their fingerprints taken within their local police office. In fact, the court hardly processes the change name petition until the existence of pending charges and previous convictions or lack of them has been reported by the Michigan Department of State Police.

In case prior convictions and pending charges are not there and you are considered clean, the Michigan Department of State Police usually destroys the copy of the set of fingerprints taken.

Publication and hearing

The petition also needs to be published using the PC 563 form, titled Publication of Notice of Hearing. The publication must contain the name proposed, and place, time and date of hearing.

In case of a good reason or cause as to why you shouldn't have the petition published, the court can order the notice to remain confidential, such as a publication that could lead to physical danger. Evidence has to be produced in support of this before the court.

Filing fees and certified copies

A $10 fee has to be paid to the court processing your petition for the final order to be entered. In case you need certified copies of the order, you'll have to part with an extra $10 for every copy.

Child name change

When it comes to changing the name of a minor in Michigan, a number of things need to be done. Age variations matter.

Older minors must give consent

If the minor is 14 years old or older, the child has to sign a written consent to the name change in the court prior to the granting of the order.

If the minor is not yet 14 years old, both parents who are legally the child's parents have to agree to it.

Parental consent and exceptions

In case any of the parents fail to give consent, the court requires the custodial parent to prove to the judge/court that the noncustodial parent hasn't been supporting the minor substantially or regularly and has not been supporting the minor as the court had order for at leas 24 months prior to filing the minor name change petition.

The custodial parent also has to prove to the court that the noncustodial parent hasn't been contacting or visiting the child for at least 24 months prior to filing the minor name change petition.

It's also worth noting that changing the name of a child below the age of 14 years is not possible unless the child is the adopted or natural child of the parent filing the petition or the consent has been obtained from the father and mother of the minor jointly, from the parent who is alive in case the other is deceased or the consent is obtained from one of the parents in case only one legal guardian/parent is the only one around to give the needed consent.

While filling out the petition for the change of name of a minor, it's important to remember the petition will require the current name of the minor and the proposed name, a clear reason for the change of name, the father and mother's name, and a date and signature.

Newspaper publication and waivers

A notice also has to be published once the place, date, and time of the hearing of the minor name change petition has been set. This is done towards giving any of the noncustodial parents the chance to object if they want to in case they couldn't be reached prior.

The publication has to be done within a local newspaper clearly indicating the place, date, and time of the hearing. The notice has to appear for a month or four weeks if the court will approve it. After the four weeks the court will then hold the hearing to consider and effect the name change, legally.

Remember, if you think the hearing shouldn't be announced in a newspaper for the safety of the child you need to let the court know. Only persons who are 18 years of age or above can change their name in the state of Michigan without the need of consent from parents.

Change of name on birth certificate

In Michigan, seeking a legal name change in a court of law doesn't change the name appearing on the birth record automatically. It's important that after you have completed the process of legally changing your name you go ahead and complete the process of changing the name on your birth certificate through the Michigan Vital Records office, in the Changes Unit.

To do this, you need to submit a signed and completed name correction application and part with a $50 fee in money order or personal check payable to Michigan State.

Include a current and valid photo ID as well as a certified copy of the name change order so that the process can be documented. The fee of $50 includes a single certified copy of the birth record with the name changes completed. For an extra copy you will need to supply $16.

Expected turnaround time is 5-6 weeks to update your birth record, but you can pay an extra $25 to get it rushed to 2-3 weeks.

A legal name change on the birth certificate can be requested by any of the following:

  • The parent whose name appears on the record
  • The child's legal guardian also appearing on the birth record
  • The minor appearing on the birth record if 18 years old and above
  • A licensed legal representative of the parents
  • A legal guardian of the child who is 18 years of age or older seeking to change the name on the birth certificate.

Social Security, DMV, Passport, IRS

First, approach the Social Security Administration to effect your name change, since most governmental agencies usually link records with the agency and you might only be allowed to change your name if you have done so first with the Social Security Administration.

You need to complete the Application for a Social Security Card that is also used in changing the name on current social security cards. You can return the form in person or via mail at any of the Social Security Administration's acceptable facilities.

After you have updated the name with the Social Security Administration, visit the brand office of the Secretary of State with your state ID card or current license including the certified copy of the name change order. Apart from a new photograph being taken, you will have to part with a $9 driver's license replacement fee; in case the driver's license is about to expire, renew it with the new name for $18. Remember, the fees can change at any given time and without notice.

Also note that enhanced licenses and applying for such, the fees differ and might be more than one and extra identity documents might also be required. While it's not mandatory, you can approach the Secretary of State for Michigan vehicle title and registration for a change of name.

You can continue to change your name and address with IRS, on your current passport, and with any other governmental body.

Non-governmental institutions

It's obvious that there are dozens of companies that need to be notified of your name change. Go ahead and approach them with a request to change your name providing the name change order granted by the court or the marriage certificate and any other document that might be needed by the non-governmental institution. These include insurance companies, financial institutions, employers and professional documents, among others.

Documents needed to effect the name change:

  • Certified marriage certificate copy for marriage name change
  • Certified divorce decree copy for divorce name change
  • General adult name change court order


  1. Vanessa

    Hi. My marriage license shows my maiden name and not my husband's. How do I get it changed. Do I have to go to court?

    1. Valera

      How do I get it changed. Do I have to go to court?

      Michigan marriage licenses don't provide spaces to specify a new name after marriage, so there's nothing for you to change.

  2. Priscilla

    Hello, I got married 7 years ago, on my marriage license, I have my dad's last name. Now, I would like to change my last name to my husband's last name. Do I have to get approval from county clerk or can I go straight to social security office.

    1. Valera

      Do I have to get approval from county clerk or can I go straight to social security office.

      You don't need to deal with the county clerk's office again. Just go straight to the social security office with a certified copy of your marriage certificate in hand.

  3. Penny Benedict

    My fiance and I want to take my biological fathers last name but I'm a bit confused on how to do this.

    1. Valera

      My fiance and I want to take my biological fathers last name but I'm a bit confused on how to do this.

      If your biological father's surname isn't your current legal surname, then you'll both have to petition the court for a new last name.


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *