Every Step to Legally Change Your Name in Michigan

Planning a name change in the Great Lakes State? You've come to the right place.
Emily Platt - The Knot Senior Manager, Commerce Content Strategy
by
Emily Platt
Emily Platt - The Knot Senior Manager, Commerce Content Strategy
Emily Platt
Senior Manager, Commerce Content Strategy
  • Emily is a strategist and editor who specializes in shopping content
  • Before joining The Knot Worldwide, Emily wrote for Martha Stewart Weddings
  • Emily has a bachelor's degree from Vassar College
Updated Dec 19, 2023
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When a couple ties the knot, they want to tell the world. After all, it's a big and exciting milestone worth sharing! But did you know that if you're changing your name, you actually, kind of well, have to? In order to get your new moniker recognized, you're required to notify a bunch of different entities. And to make things more complicated, a name change in Michigan could actually require some extra steps. Here, we're breaking down the entire process, starting with—believe it or not—applying for your marriage license.

But before we get into all that, we want to introduce you to a total game-changer: the name change service HitchSwitch. Sign up for one of four packages—they start at just $39. Then, complete a single form and have its team of experts do most of the annoying stuff for you. While they can't wait in line for you at the Secretary of State office, they can figure out what paperwork you need and autofill it for you. They're also available to answer any questions along the way. So if you'd rather let someone else do all the research, stop reading right now and let HitchSwitch help. Otherwise, keep scrolling for the information you need on how to change your last name in Michigan.

In this article:

    How to Get a Marriage License in Michigan

    How to change your name in Michigan depends on what kind of name change you're after. If you're planning to take your spouse's last name after marriage, you'll use your Michigan marriage license as your legal name change document. Here's how to get one if you haven't already.

    What documents do you need?

    You or your future spouse must visit a local licensing bureau in the county where you reside. (Visiting couples must register in the county where the wedding will take place). You both must present a valid driver's licence or government ID, and they should also bring their birth certificate to be safe. Some counties now allow submitting the application online, but you and your spouse will both need to show ID to pick it up in person.

    How much does it cost?

    Getting a marriage license in Michigan typically costs $20 for in-state couples to $30 for non-residents.

    Important things to remember:

    There's a three-day waiting period to obtain your marriage license (though it can be waived for a small fee), which will then be valid for 33 days in Michigan.

    Make sure to get certified copies of your marriage license to use throughout the rest of the name change process. Depending on the county, a certified copy varies from $15 to $24, plus $5 to $7 for each additional copy.

    Please confirm the entire process and fees by contacting your local licensing bureau, as they may be subject to changes at any time and vary from county to county.

    Tying the knot out of state? You'll get a marriage license there, not in Michigan, so look up those requirements instead.

    How to Petition for a Name Change in Michigan

    For other types of name changes, you could need a court order to execute a legal name change in Michigan. According to Jake Wolff, the founder of HitchSwitch, that includes making your old last name your new middle name. (FYI: If you're not sure whether or not you need to petition the court, HitchSwitch's pros can offer you guidance.) In these cases, the court order serves as your official name change document.

    What documents do you need?

    Start by completing a Michigan Petition to Change Name, which you can find here. File the original with your local circuit court but make a copy for your records. In most cases, you'll then need to get a criminal background check. This involves visiting a local law enforcement agency, getting fingerprinted on a Michigan Applicant Card (RI-008), and mailing it to the Michigan State Police along with a copy of your petition, plus payment for any associated fees. From there, it'll get reviewed by both the state police and the FBI. You won't have a court hearing unless you're approved for one by both entities. Find more information on the MSP website.

    Once your court hearing is scheduled, you're required to publish a notice of it to move forward with the name change process in Michigan. (The purpose? To notify any individuals whom your name change might affect.) Once the local paper publishes your hearing information, it'll complete an Affidavit of Publication for you to submit to the court as proof.

    After all that, it's time for the hearing. Bring along multiple copies of the above documents just to be safe. If the judge approves your petition, you'll receive an Order Following Hearing on Petition to Change Name. That's your ticket for a name change everywhere else.

    How much does it cost?

    Filing a name change petition costs $175 in the state of Michigan. That said, you can request that the fees be waived if you can't afford them. To process your criminal background check, you'll have to pay an additional $43.25 in fingerprinting fees, plus other fees for publishing your new name and certified copies of the new name certification. (It varies based on location.)

    Important things to remember:

    The Michigan Legal Help website provides additional details about a Michigan court order name change. Yes, the process is lengthy, but there is some good news: If you, your spouse and any children you share are planning to all take the same new name together, you may only need to file one petition. Contact your circuit court for more information.

    How to Get a Social Security Name Change in Michigan

    Congrats—you now have proof of a legal name change in Michigan. Now, you'll have to take your marriage certificate or court order to a few more agencies to get everything squared away. First stop? The Social Security Administration. Unlike other steps on our list, this one isn't actually Michigan-specific—it's required no matter where you live. That's because you can't change your name anywhere else until you have an updated Social Security card.

    What documents do you need?

    Below, you'll find everything you need to bring or mail to your local Social Security office. By the way: With HitchSwitch's $69 package, you'll get prepaid mailing envelopes. That saves you a trip to the SSA and the post office.

    • An original or certified copy of your legal name change document

    • Proof of identity (you can use your current driver's license)

    • Proof of citizenship (if you haven't already established it)

    • Form SS-5 (the Application for a Social Security Card)

    How much does it cost?

    Changing your name in Michigan (or anywhere else!) on your Social Security card costs—wait for it—nada. It's free, woot-woot.

    Important things to remember:

    Find your local social security office here, and visit the SSA's website if you have any questions or can't provide one of the above documents. If you submit original copies, they'll be mailed back to you, but we recommend sending certified copies to be safe. You'll get your new SS card (with your old number) sent to you in a few weeks.

    How to Get a Passport Name Change in Michigan

    We know what you might be thinking: I'm not traveling internationally anytime soon, so why is updating my passport a priority? Well, according to Wolff of HitchSwitch, an updated passport serves as extra proof of your name change. Consider it insurance you can whip out if you run into issues updating your driver's license. Just don't update your passport until after your honeymoon if you're celebrating that abroad. You booked your tickets before getting married, and the names on all your travel documents have to match.

    What documents do you need?

    You'll fall into one of three categories:

    1. Passport correction: Form DS-5504

    You qualify if you're requesting a name change within a year of receiving your current passport.

    Apply by mailing in:

    • The completed form

    • Your current passport

    • Your original or certified name change document

    • A color passport photo (which HitchSwitch's $99 package includes)

    2. Passport renewal: Form DS-82

    You qualify if you have your current passport, it's in good condition, it was issued when you were at least 16 years old, and it was issued within the last 15 years.

    Apply by mailing in:

    • The completed form

    • Your current passport

    • Your original or certified name change document

    • A color passport photo

    3. Brand new passport: Form DS-11

    If you don't meet any of the above criteria, you'll have to use the standard passport application. Sadly, this requires a visit to a Passport Acceptance Facility (or a Department of State Passport Agency for expedited service).

    Apply with:

    • Proof of identity, plus a photocopy

    • Proof of citizenship, plus a photocopy

    • Your original or certified name change document

    • A color passport photo

    How much does it cost?

    Again, it depends.

    1. Passport renewal: $0. Booyah.

    2. Passport correction: $130 for a passport book and/or $30 for a card (which offers more limited travel options).

    3. Brand new passport: $130 for a passport book, $30 for a card and $35 in extra fees.

    For an extra $60, you can expedite your service.

    Important things to remember:

    Learn more about the requirements for each situation on the US Department of State website.

    How to Get a Driver's License Name Change in Michigan

    It's time to tell your old name to hit the road. Here's how to update a valid driver's license or another state-issued ID.

    What documents do you need?

    Schedule an appointment at a branch of the Michigan Secretary of State's office with. Bring your:

    • Your current, valid photo ID

    • Your certified name change document (marriage certificate or name change court order)

    • Your new Social Security card with your new name

    How much does it cost?

    A corrected driver's license costs $9. If it's an enhanced driver's license, it'll cost $24. Meanwhile, a corrected state ID card costs $10. An enhanced one costs $30.

    Important things to remember:

    While you're there, correct your vehicle title and registration following Michigan's specific instructions.

    How to Complete Your Name Change in Michigan

    Hang in there, you're almost done! You've dealt with all the big fish, now it's time to update your contact information anywhere else necessary. That includes with your employer, doctor's offices, insurance companies, bank, so on and so forth. If you're worried you're forgetting something, HitchSwitch can provide you with a personalized checklist. They can even provide instructions for tasks as small as updating your social media profiles. How sweet is that?

    This article has been fact-checked and reviewed for accuracy in November 2023.

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