Business Names

Business Registration

Persons who own, conduct or transact business in Berrien County are required by state statute to file their business names.  Registration is done through the County Clerk’s Office in each county in which you plan to do business.  Business names may be registered at the County Administration Center, 701 Main Street, St. Joseph or at the Clerk’s Office at the South County Building, 1205 N. Front Street, Niles.  This office reserves the right to receive documents but delay filing, until all statutory requirements are met.  Businesses filing in Berrien County must use forms provided by this office.

DBA “Doing Business As” or Co-Partnerships

The “Certificate of Assumed Name” and “Certificate of Co-Partnership” are legal documents.  Information given on these forms should be as complete and accurate as possible.    

Check the name.  The first step is to confirm that the business name you have selected is acceptable.  The Clerk is authorized to reject any assumed name, which is likely to mislead the public, or is similar to other business names as to lead to confusion or deception.  The registering of the name places that name on public record indicating that the registrant(s) is/are conducting business under an assumed name.  A DBA protects a business from possible name duplications by other businesses.

Check with the State.  This ensures that the business name is not being used by a corporation, limited liability company (“LLC”), limited liability partnership (“LLP”), or non-profit organization, which are only filed at the state level, State of Michigan Business Entity Search.  It is your responsibility to check at the state level, local telephone books, online and news media to make certain there is no existing business using the name you have chosen.  You can also contact the Corporation Bureau in Lansing at: (517)241-6470.

Complete and file the DBA/Co-Partnership form.  Registration is good for 5 years (less one day) and is renewable 30 days prior to expiration.  Notarization of the certificate is also necessary.  This office will provide notarization if an owner has a current valid driver’s license or state-issued ID, with a correct residential address.   On a Certificate of Co-partnership, all owners must sign, but only the main partner must sign in front of the notary.  At the time of filing, you will receive 2 certified copies for a DBA certificate and 3 certified copies for a Co-Partnership certificate. 

Certificate of Assumed Name
$10.00 Fee  
Co-Partnership Certificate
$10.00 Fee  
Consent to Service Form
(for out-of-state residents)
$2.00 Fee  
Certificate of Discontinuance
(to change name, dissolve, add or remove owners)
$10.00 Fee  
Change of Address Amendment Form
$5.00 Fee  

It is your responsibility to notify this office and file the required forms if:

  • The principal address of the business changes.

  • Persons are added or deleted from the business name certificate.

  • The business is dissolved. (Certificate of Discontinuance)

For detailed instructions on the above forms, please read the DBA and Co-Partnership Information form.  Additional information can also be found at the State of Michigan’s website for businesses:

The County Clerk cannot give legal advice.  You may wish to contact your legal advisor for more information on registering a business.

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Berrien County Courthouse
811 Port Street, St. Joseph, MI 49085
Berrien County Administration Center
701 Main Street, St. Joseph, MI 49085
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Last Updated 4/22/2016   
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