Probate Court

Name Changes


Applicant must have been a resident of the county in which the petition for name change is filed for a minimum of 12 months immediately preceding the filing of the petition.

A birth certificate is required for all individuals under the age of 18.

Application Instructions

Name change petitions are under the jurisdiction of the Family Division of the Circuit Court. However, many Probate Courts, including Kent County Probate Court, continue to process petitions for name changes. To obtain a name change, the applicant must complete the Petition for Name Change, form PC 51, and file it with the required fees. Currently the filing fee for a petition to change a name is $187.00, payable to the Kent County Probate Court, which may be paid in cash, by personal check or by money order. The required fees include the purchase of one certified copy, but you may prepay for as many certified copies in advance as you would like ($12.00 per copy).

If the applicant is 22 years or older, then he or she must have a criminal history background check performed. After the background check is complete the applicant will contact the court to set a hearing date to have the name change. If the applicant has a criminal history, it will be up to the applicant to rebut the presumption that the name change is being sought for fraudulent reasons.

If the applicant is 21 years or younger, he or she may begin the filing process without the background check.

Background Check

A background check is performed to determine if the name change is sought with fraudulent intent.

A background check is not performed on applicants 21 years of age and younger. To obtain the necessary background check, call your local law enforcement agency to set up an appointment to get fingerprinted on a “hard card.” The fingerprint card can be a State or FBI card.  Neatly fill out the fingerprint card (front and back if two sided) and for the “Reason for Fingerprint” check off, or write “Name Change.”

Once the applicant has obtained the fingerprint card from the Police Department, he or she must mail the following items to the address listed below.

  • Copy of the Petition for Name Change
  • State (or FBI) Applicant Fingerprint Card
  • $43.25  non-refundable fee payable to the State of Michigan

P.O. BOX 30266

The applicant's background check must go through the State of Michigan and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It takes approximately 3 to 4 weeks for the background check to be completed. The court upon receipt of the completed background check will then contact the applicant to set the hearing date for the name change.

It is very important that the applicant file with the court a copy of the petition for the name change at the same time that the fingerprints are being sent to the State Police. The court will use the information on the petition to contact the applicant once the background check has been completed and returned to the court.

Once the applicant has received notice from Probate Court that the court is ready to proceed on the petition for the name change, he or she must visit the Probate Court building during normal business hours to begin the filing process.

Name Change Forms

Name Change Fees

Description Payee Fee
Finger Printing, Adults 22+ State of Michigan $43.25
Court Filing Fee Kent County Probate Court $187.00
Paper Publication Legal News $99.65
Name Change of Birth Certificate State of Michigan $50.00