Name Changes

Please Read Before Proceeding

This information is not intended to be legal advice, but a brief explanation of the basic procedure that is required.  Probate Court personnel cannot give legal advice about your particular situation or complete your forms for you. You are not required to have an attorney; however, the Court cannot act as your attorney. If you do not understand process or have questions on what to do, you will need to obtain other assistance.


In order to file a Petition for Name Change in Berrien County, the applicant must have been a resident of Berrien County for a minimum of twelve months before filing the petition. Depending on the age of the person whose name needs to be changed, the requirements for filing are slightly different.

Name Change for 22 and Older

If the applicant is aged 22 or older, he or she must have a criminal history background check performed. For the background check, it is the applicant’s responsibility to be fingerprinted at a local law enforcement agency and to pay the appropriate fee associated with the fingerprinting. The applicant will then need to mail the fingerprint cards, along with the appropriate fee, to the Michigan State Police for processing. The results will be sent to the Court.

Petition to Change Name for Minor - 21 Packet (PDF) Opens in new window

Name Change for Minor - Age 21 Packet

If the applicant is aged 21 or younger, no background check is required.

A name change for a minor must be consented to by both parents, or it must be shown that the name change can be granted pursuant to MCL 711.1(5) or (7). The non-custodial parent must get notice of the hearing on the Petition to Change Name. Also, if the minor is fourteen years or older, he or she must consent to the name change.

Petition to Change Name for 22 and older Packet (PDF) Opens in new window