Juvenile Information Traffic, State & Local Law Violations

The Family Division of the 46th Circuit Trial Court handles all juvenile misdemeanor traffic violations. The Family Division also handles all juvenile ordinance and State law violations.

What kind of traffic violations are included?

Misdemeanors handled by the family court include any juvenile under 17 charged with :

  • Driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI).
  • Reckless driving.
  • Driving without a license.
  • Improper plates.
  • Fleeing and eluding police.

How am I charged?

At the time of the violation, the police will issue a ticket indicating the charge. It will also indicate that the court will notify you of a date and time of hearing. This is usually done within 30 days.

Do I have to appear at the hearing?

It depends on the charge. Some violations can be taken care of by mail by you and your parent or guardian signing the waiver of plea section and mailing the ticket back. With certain other violations your appearance at a hearing is mandatory.

Do I need an attorney?

That's up to you. The court does not provide Court appointed attorneys in traffic matters.

What happens at the hearing?

You will either admit or deny the charge. Your case will by heard before a hearing officer, who, after hearing the case will either find you have committed the offense or dismiss the case. If the charge is substantiated, you will be responsible for court costs and the court may impose other dispositional measures. Your parent or guardian accompany you to all hearings.

How will this affect my driving record?

The Secretary of State's office will be notified of the charge and points will be assessed against your driving record.

What if I fail to appear at the hearing?

If you have not contacted the court within 30 days after the hearing date you will receive a warning letter from the court. You have 14 days to respond. If after 14 days you have not responded, the Secretary of State's office will be notified and your license will be suspended. Your failure to appear will show on your record as an outstanding ticket.

But I'm under 16 and don 't even have a valid Michigan driver's license.

The failure to appear will prohibit you from obtaining your license when you do apply

What if I commit a felony offense?

Vehicular felony offenses include manslaughter, negligent homicide, car jacking, or use of a car in an armed robbery. If the motor vehicle felony is substantial, you will go through the normal juvenile court petition process. Felony offenses will appear on your driving record.

What is a State or Local Law offense?

These offenses are local city, village or State laws that make certain behaviors illegal. These can include: Skipping school, running away from home, trespassing, party crashing, underage drinking, fighting, possession, sale or use of drugs, indecent or immoral conduct, loitering, curfew violation, hitchhiking, smoking, shoplifting, and carrying a concealed weapon, bicycle and skateboard violations.

What happens if I commit an offense?

You will receive a ticket. A court officer then orders one of the following actions :

  • Dismissal Letter - A letter will go to your parent or guardian notifying them of the violation and requesting them to discuss the citation with you.
  • Probation Officer - You may be assigned a probation officer to monitor your behavior.
  • Official Docket - The court may hold a hearing with the parent or guardian.

Where are the hearings held?

200 West Michigan Avenue
Grayling, MI 49738
(989) 344-3239

605 North Birch street
PO Box 780
Kalkaska, MI 49646
(231) 258-3330

800 Livingston Blvd, Suite 1-C
Gaylord, MI 49735
(989) 731-0211

Juvenile Delinquency

When is a child considered a juvenile delinquent?

A juvenile delinquent is any child under 17 who has broken the law, is disobedient to parents, guardian or custodian, or has been truant from home or school.

What happens when a minor is picked up and taken into custody by the police?

The minor is taken to local police station headquarters where the police have the option of releasing the minor or requesting permission of the court to place in pretrial detention. If approved, the minor will be detained pending a hearing

How long will the minor be held in pretrial detention?

The Family Court must hold a preliminary hearing within 24 hours of the minor's admission to determine whether a petition should be authorized and whether the juvenile should remain in custody before the trial. The court may call witnesses to help make the determination.

The court may decide to release the juvenile without conditions, pending trial or with certain lawful conditions, including a requirement that a bond be posted.

How do I post bond?

Bonds may be posted during normal business hours in the Court office. Payment may be cash, money order, cashier's check, or surety bond.

After hours and on weekends, bond may be posted at the Sheriff's Department. Payments must be by money order or cashier's check only.

What happens next?

A trial date will be set. At the trial, a judge or referee will hear the evidence/testimony and determine if the juvenile comes within the provision of the juvenile code.

What is involved in commitment?

The court can rule that the minor be made a continuing ward of the state with jurisdiction to age 21 if warranted.

Will the minor need an attorney?

The court will appoint an attorney if :

  • The parent or guardian refuses or fails to appear at the hearings;
  • The parent or guardian is the complainant or victim;
  • The minor and parent/guardian cannot afford an attorney;
  • The parent/guardian refuses to retain an attorney and the juvenile doesn't waive the right to an attorney;
  • The court determines that it is in the best interest of the child or public to appoint an attorney.

Who is responsible for attorney fees?

Upon admission to the pretrial detention, the court will take a financial statement from the parent/guardian. After sentencing, the court will make a recommendation for reimbursement by the parent/guardian for the minor's room and board and attorney fees based on the financial statement.

What is probation?

If the court orders probation, the minor will be released to his/her parent or guardian and assigned a probation officer for a time to be determined by the court. The minor will report to the probation officer on a regular basis, also determined by the Court.

The court may also order mandatory restitution, where the minor and/or parent must compensate the victim for damages or loss, or participation in a community service restitution program.

If the minor is formally adjudicated, will the minor have a record?

Yes, the court keeps a file on any juvenile formally adjudicated.

What if after a complaint is filed, the minor is not held in pretrial detention?

If the minor is not not held in pretrial detention, the petition may be denied, diverted, or made official.

If the case is dismissed by the judge or referee will the minor have a record?

While the court will maintain a record, information regarding the contact will not be revealed unless there is a finding of guilt and the disposition is "Warned and Dismissed."

Will the minor have a record if the petition is denied?


Is school truancy handled by the family court?

For any child between 6 and 16, skipping school is against the law. If a child repeatedly skips school, and all coordinated efforts of parents, guardians, school personnel, counselors, and outside agencies have failed, an official petition can be filed by the court. The court will then recommend further action.

What about running away from home?

Running away from home is against the law. Other acts that are against the law include trespassing, party crashing, hitchhiking, smoking, fighting, loitering and curfew violations.

The Family Division is located at the main court house. The courts are open from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday-Friday.

Rights of Juveniles

While all citizens of Michigan are protected by certain rights under the law, juveniles (under 17) did not always have those same rights. It was only after a Supreme Court ruling in 1967 that juveniles were given the same rights as adults when involved with the court system.

What are the rights of a juvenile in the legal justice system?

In general court proceedings, the juvenile has the following rights:

Right to an attorney - The juvenile must be offered an opportunity to have an attorney. If the juvenile desires legal counsel and cannot afford it, he/she is entitled to an attorney appointed by the court.

Preliminary hearing within 24 hours - The Juvenile Code requires a preliminary hearing be no later than 24 hours after admission to determine whether a petition will be issued and whether the juvenile will be held in custody pending a trial. If the juvenile is held in custody, a hearing is held within 24 hours. The hearing can be adjourned up to 14 days.

Notified or Allegations - The juvenile must be told why she/he is being held.

Right to trial by judge or jury - The juvenile is entitled to file a demand for a trial by judge or jury. Otherwise, a referee may be assigned to hear the case.

Right to hearing by judge - The juvenile is entitled to a hearing before a judge and the right to ask for a review of the referee's recommendations.

The juvenile's parent must be told what costs or reimbursement of costs they may be responsible for.

What about rights in delinquency proceedings?

In delinquency proceedings, the juvenile is entitled to:

Hear the charges in the petition and have an explanation of the proceedings;

Be informed of self-incrimination and how any statement made by the juvenile can be used against the juvenile in court proceedings;

  • Be allowed a chance to deny or defend against the charges

Who must be notified of the hearing in a delinquency proceeding?

The juvenile, the juvenile's parent, and the attorney representing the juvenile.

What about rights in child protective proceedings?

In abuse/neglect proceedings, the parent/guardian is entitled to:

  • A court appointed attorney if the parent/guardian wishes to be represented by legal counsel and cannot afford to pay;
  • Be informed whether an attorney has been appointed to represent the child;
  • Receive a copy of the petition;
  • Deny or admit the allegations and offer an explanation;
  • Be read the allegations in the petition;
  • Receive written notice of any hearing 7 days before the trial or dispositional review;
  • Receive written notice 14 days before any permanent custody or permanency planning hearing;
  • Be notified of further hearings personally or through in attorney.

If the child has been placed outside the child's home, the parent/guardian must be informed:

  • Of the agency's responsibility to develop an initial services plan;
  • That the initial services plan must be prepared within 30 days of placement;
  • That participation in an initial services plan is voluntary without a court order.

Who must be notified of a child protective proceeding?

The agency responsible for the child, the foster parent or custodian, the parents and attorney (unless parental rights have been terminated), the child's guardian, the guardian ad litem, the child's attorney, the child if 11 or older, any tribal leader if there is an Indian tribe affiliation, and any other person the court directs to be present.

Issues Affecting Juveniles

At what age is a child considered a juvenile?

The Family Division of the 46th Circuit Trial Court handles all cases involving children under 17.

What kinds of problems does this include?

  • Status offenses - cases involving minors who repeatedly disobey parents, fail to attend school, or run away from home.
  • Juvenile delinquency - cases involving acts committed by juveniles which if committed by adults, would be considered crimes. This includes certain traffic violations.
  • Child protective proceedings - cases which involve children under 18 who are abused or neglected by adults. The Family Division acts on behalf of the child. Often the child is placed in foster care until the court determines how the family can be helped.

How does a child get into the Family Division System?

A petition must be filed to begin any court action against a juvenile. A petition is a written complaint stating that:

1. A parent has failed to properly care for a child


2. A juvenile has committed an offense.

In some cases, the Family Division will appoint an attorney to represent the child. The petition must filed in person at the Court.

What if the child is delinquent?

In Delinquency Proceedings, a series of hearings, or preliminary examinations, will be held to determine whether a petition should be approved; whether the juvenile should be held prior to the trial; whether the minor falls under the Court’s control; whether the juvenile is guilty; and what action the court will take after the trial.

The Court will also monitor the progress of a juvenile committed to a facility; review and challenge findings; rehear the case if new evidence is presented; and determine if juveniles 15 or older should be ordered to jail.

What about cases of child abuse and neglect?

In Protective Proceedings, hearings are held to decide if the child should be placed in care outside the home; and whether the child should be placed in permanent custody of the court for adoption planning.

The Court also reviews the child's foster care placement, and determines whether to return a child home or continue foster care. These cases, like delinquency cases, can be reviewed, challenged, or reheard.

What if I have questions about adoption?

The Family Division of the Court processes all agency, stepparent, relative and adult adoption petitions in this County. There is a fee for an adoption petition.

What about marriages between minors?

All marriages for minors under 16 must be approved by the Family Division. The minor female must be pregnant or have delivered a child to request permission for a marriage certificate. One applicant must be a County resident.

What about minors involved in traffic violations?

All misdemeanor traffic violations issued to juveniles are handled by the Family Division of the Court. Uncontested violations are handled by the Traffic Referee. Contested matters are heard by a judge or referee.

All civil infraction violations issued to juveniles are handled by the District Division of the Court.

Legal Emancipation

What is emancipation?

Emancipation is the legal way a minor (who is under 18) is freed from their parents' control. An emancipated minor has all the rights and responsibilities of adults, except where legal age is required by law, such as voting, and purchasing and/or drinking alcohol.

What do I have to show to become emancipated?

In order to get a Judge to consider to emancipate you, you must show

  • That you are at least 16 and a County resident.
  • Proof of housing (someplace you could live if you become emancipated).
  • Proof of employment or other means of support EXCLUDING support from parents, general assistance (GA), or Aid to Families with dependent Children (AFDC).

If you do not meet all of these requirements, the court cannot accept your petition.

Where do I pick up the emancipation form?

Forms are available at the Family Division office.

How do I become emancipated?

You must file a petition with the Family Division, which includes the following:

    - Your full name, address and length of time at that address, county, birth date, and state of birth.

    - Name and address of your parent(s), guardian(s), or custodian(s).

    - A written statement that you are able to manage your own personal, social and financial affairs.

    - A certified copy of your birth certificate which will not be returned to you.

    - An affidavit (sworn statement) signed by one of the following people stating why emancipation is in your best interests: doctor, nurse, clergyman, psychologist, family therapist, social worker, school administrator or counselor, teacher, law enforcement officer, or regulated child care provider. They will also be sent a notice of the hearing.

Once you file the petition, you must give a copy of the petition and a summons to appear at the hearing to your parent(s) or guardian(s). You will also be given a printout of the date and time of your hearing.

What happens after I file the petition?

The Court may investigate the reasons you want to become emancipated. An attorney may be appointed to represent you. A lawyer may also be appointed for your parent(s) or guardian(s) if they object to the emancipation and cannot afford to hire an attorney.

If my parent(s) or guardian(s) oppose my emancipation, will my petition be automatically dismissed?

No, but the judge will consider their objection while deciding whether you should be emancipated.

What happens at the Court hearing?

The judge will ask you why you want to become emancipated and what your plans are for the future. Witnesses may be able to tell the judge why they think you should become emancipated. Your parent(s) or guardian(s) can explain why they do not want you to become emancipated.

If I become emancipated, what rights do I have?

As an emancipated minor, you can:

  • Sign contracts
  • Marry
  • Sue or be sued
  • Live in your own home
  • Earn a living and retain your wages
  • Authorize health care
  • Register for school
  • Make decisions for your minor children
  • Make a will

Your parents are still obligated to support you, but are not responsible for your debts.

Is it true that once you become 17 you are automatically emancipated?

No. Emancipation occurs automatically only:

  • When a minor is validly married.
  • When a person turns 18.
  • When a minor is on active duty in the U.S. armed forces
  • For purposes of agreeing to emergency medical treatment if the minor is in law enforcement custody and a parent or guardian cannot be located.

Secret Marriage

What is a secret marriage?

It is a way for couples to marry without public knowledge.

Why would someone want a secret marriage?

To protect themselves or their family from embarrassment. Perhaps a couple has been living together for a long time and everyone thinks that they are already married. Or an unwed mother thinks they are already married.   Or an unwed mother planning on marrying the father may want the marriage certificate to show the wedding date as prior to the child's birth date.

What is needed to apply for a secret marriage?

Both applicants must present a Certificate of VD/HIV counseling and test and have a reason that qualifies the couple to have a secret marriage.

If the couple is being married by a clergyman, they must present a statement written on church stationary signed by the clergyman stating that be is willing to perform the ceremony.

How much does it cost?

$3 license fee (cash or check payable to the Court).

$10 marriage fee if judge is to perform marriage (cash or check payable to the Court).

Where do you apply for a secret marriage?

See the clerk in the Family Division of the Court.

Does the couple need to provide witnesses?

The ceremony requires two witnesses. Court staff can be witnesses if the couple does not have their own.

Who has access to secret marriage records?

All secret marriage records are strictly confidential. The Court will not give out any information about secret marriages unless the person produces a picture identification showing he/she is one of the marriage partners and makes a written request.

Where can a couple get VD/HIV counseling?

Waiver of Parental Rights in Abortion


In 1991, the Michigan Legislature passed a law that requires consent of parent or guardian for any minor seeking an abortion unless there is a medical emergency.

If a parent or guardian is not available or refuses to consent, or if the minor chooses not to ask her parent or guardian, the minor is entitled to petition the Family Division for a waiver of parental rights.

What is a waiver of parental rights?

An unemancipated minor (someone still legally controlled by their parent or guardian) must get the written consent of one of her parents or her guardian in order to obtain an abortion.

An unemancipated minor can ask the Family Division for a waiver of parental consent. If granted, the minor will not need the permission of her parent or guardian and she can decide on her own to obtain an abortion.

Where do I pick up the waiver form?

Forms are available at the Family Division Clerk's office.

Who can file for the Waiver?

An unemancipated minor whose legal guardian is not available or refuses to allow the child to obtain an abortion.

An unemancipated minor who chooses not to ask their parent's or guardian's permission.

How much does it cost to file a Waiver?


Do I need a lawyer to file a waiver?

No. At the minor's request, the Court will appoint an attorney or guardian ad lidem to represent her.

Who will know about the parental waiver petition?

No one. These proceedings are confidential. A minor can use her initials on the petition if she doesn't want to sign her full name.

Does the minor seeking the abortion have to file the petition in person?

No. She can have her "next friend" sign and file the waiver request. A "next friend" must be a responsible adult.

A "next friend" CANNOT be:

    - A doctor who performs abortions.

    - A person who works for a doctor who performs abortions.

    - A person who works for an agency that performs abortions, abortion counseling or abortion referrals

    - A volunteer who is a board member or volunteer with an agency performing abortions, abortion counseling or referrals.

What happens after a waiver petition is filed?

A hearing will be set within 72 hours, excepting Sundays and holidays.

What has to be proven to have a waiver granted?

At the hearing the minor must show:

That she is mature and well-informed enough to decide to have an abortion on her own.


That the waiver of parental consent is in the minor's best interest.

The court will issue an order granting or denying the waiver request. If the petition is granted, the minor may give the order to her doctor.

What if the Court rejects the waiver petition?

A minor whose petition is denied can appeal (challenge) the Court's denial to the Michigan Court of Appeals. If the minor appeals, an attorney will be provided for her at no cost.

What if the minor's pregnancy was caused by sexual abuse?

The Court must immediately report the incident to the Family Independence Agency (F.I.A.), or a law enforcement agency The minor must also be informed of the actions that can be taken to protect her, including removing her from the home and placing her in temporary protective custody.

What if the abortion is necessary because of a medical emergency?

A parental waiver is not required.

REMEMBER : Even If a waiver request is granted, a minor cannot have an abortion which is otherwise against the law.

How To Establish Paternity

What is paternity?

Paternity is the legal identification of a minor's natural father when the parents are not married.

Why is it important to establish paternity?

When paternity is determined, the child has the same rights to financial support as a child born to married parents.

Paternity can be established until the child reaches 18. Paternity can also be established if the alleged father lives 'in another state or country'.

How do you establish paternity?

The simplest way to establish paternity is for both parents to sign and file an Affidavit of Parentage form with the Family Division in the county where the mother or father resides. Forms can be picked up at the Clerk's Office.

What happens next?

The mother and father must both sign the Affidavit of Parentage form in front of a notary. The form is then filed with the Family Division at the County Building.

What if the mother wants to file and the father doesn't?

Then the Family Division will make the determination.  If the Family Division determines that he is the legal father, they will issue an Order of Filiation declaring paternity.

How does a mother start paternity proceedings?

If you are receiving public assistance, the county prosecuting attorncy's office will help you establish paternity. If you arc not receiving public assistance, contact the Family Independence Agency in the county. You may also contact a private attorney.

Is the natural father responsible for any costs?

The Order of Filiation entered by the Family Division may require the father to pay for past child support, medical expenses for the birth of the child, blood testing costs, court costs, and attorney fees.

Child custody or visitation rights are not automatically included. If paternity is established, a court order for child support will be issued by the Family Division judge.

What if the father is no longer living?

If the father has died and you want to show paternity for inheritance purposes, you must file a petition with the Family Division in the county where the father lived. The petition can be filed only if the Family Division has not entered an Order or Filiation or the Family Division has no Affidavit of Parentage on file. You must prove that the man and the child had a mutually acknowledged father/child relationship before the child turned 18, and continued until the death of either the father or child.

Will the Court change the name on the child's birth certificate?

No. You must send an application for a new birth certificate to the Michigan Department of Public Health along with a fee.  Contact the Bureau of Vital Statistics (517) 335-8666 in Lansing for the form, and fee amount.

What if the father wants to file but the mother doesn't?

The father can go before a Family Division judge and ask the Court for permission to file an Affidavit of Parentage without the mother's signature.

Involuntary Commitment

What is involuntary Commitment?

This is the process used in a Probate Division to help a person who may be mentally ill and harmful to self or others and refuses to seek treatment.

How do I know if a person is mentally ill?

First, watch the person's behavior carefully. If the strange behavior only occurs when the person has been taking drugs or using alcohol, the problem could be substance abuse, not mental illness.

However, if the strange behavior is continuous, and if the person threatens or actually harms him/herself or others, you should seek professional help.

Who should I call?

If you have been unable to get treatment for the person at a clinic or agency with a mental health professional, you may call the Family Division. See Court Contacts for phone number in your county.

If the emergency occurs after business hours, you can call the 24-hour Emergency Telephone service for for your county. See Court Contacts.  They will immediately refer you to a mental health facility

What will the Mental Health Division need to know?

A trained social worker will verify that you personally observed the abnormal behavior and that it happened recently. You will be asked to describe the behavior in detail.

The social worker will also want to know the individual's substance abuse habits. If the problem is determined to be substance abuse related, you will be referred to an agency in your area.

You will also need to know the age of the person.

You will also be asked whether every effort has been made to get the person to voluntarily seek help.

What if the social worker decides the person needs further evaluation?

The social worker will tell you to come in person to the court office to fill out a petition. You will need to describe in writing:

    1. What specific symptoms and behaviors the person is displaying that made you seek help?

    2. What harmful or threatening behavior to him/herself or others did the person demonstrate that concerns you and made you seek help?

Petitions can be filed Monday - Friday, between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., except holidays.

What happens next?

The social worker will prepare a Petition and Order for Examination. You will then be sent to a judge where your petition will be heard. If the judge signs the order to authorize a psychiatric evaluation, you will then receive all of the completed paperwork to take with you. The court will order a police officer to transport the person to a psychiatric unit for an evaluation.

What happens at the psychiatric unit?

The hospital will perform a psychiatric evaluation within 24 hours and will decide whether the person needs treatment.

What if the hospital determines that the person does not require hospitalization?

If the person does not require hospitalization, or is diagnosed as having a substance abuse problem, the hospital will release the person. Sometimes the hospital will recommend outpatient treatment.

And if the person is diagnosed as requiring treatment?

Then the person will be sent to a designated hospital for necessary care.

Who makes the decision to hospitalize the person for psychiatric treatment?

The hospital director and the Court are authorized to recommend hospitalization or release.

How long will the person be kept in the treatment facility?

The court may order up to 60 days of treatment on the initial admission order, but the hospital makes the final decision.

Could it be longer?

Yes.   The hospital may petition the court for continued treatment.  The court will then hold a hearing to decide whether to honor the petition or discharge the patient.

IMPORTANT: The person who originally filed the petition must attend the hearing.

Is there any kind of follow-up after the person is admitted?

Yes. If the person is hospitalized for an extended period, the court closely monitors the progress with a periodic review which is sent to the court by the hospital.

Adoption Issues

An adoption occurs when a new parent-child relationship is created after the death of a birth parent or termination of parental rights by the court. Once the adoption is final, the adopted child has the same legal rights as a natural child.

Who can file to adopt?

Petitions can be filed by stepparents, relatives within the fifth degree of relationship (i.e., fifth cousin) through blood, marriage or adoption, for children 17 or younger. If the child is a ward of the State of Michigan or is placed with an adoption agency, petitions are placed through the agency.  Petitions for adult adoptions are handled in the Juvenile Division. If you are married, petitions are filed jointly with your spouse.

How do I file for adoption?

You must file a petition with the Family Division.

What will I need to bring to the Family Court?

You must bring true copies of birth certificates for the child and the petitioners.  If the petitioners are relatives (i.e., parent, grandparents, aunt, uncle, cousin, niece, or nephew) you must bring birth certificates to establish relationship to the adoptee.  You must also provide information on how the termination of non-custodial parental rights will occur (by consent or through involuntary termination).

What happens next?

The documents will be reviewed and a Petition for Adoption will be prepared if the documents are in order.  A caseworker will then be assigned to conduct investigations and report for the court. The caseworker will conduct interviews in the home, as well as the office, to complete the court reports.

Will I need an attorney?

It's up to you.  An attorney is optional.  However, you will not be provided a court appointed attorney.

How will the right of the biological or legal parents be officially terminated?

Parental rights are terminated voluntarily (with consent) or involuntarily (by court order). You must be able to tell the court if the non-custodial parent will consent to the termination of parental rights, or if parental rights must be terminated by court order.  You must also provide proof of attempts to contact the parent regarding the adoption petition and how the parent feels about termination of their parental rights (i.e., copies of correspondence).

Does the child have a voice in the decision?

If the child is 14 or over, the child must agree to the adoption.

What happens after the investigation?

The caseworker's report is reviewed by the court.  The Order of Adoption is then prepared and presented to the judge for finalization of the adoption.

How long does the adoption process take?

The adoption process takes 60 to 90 days if the biological parent consents to termination of their rights.  If the termination of parental rights is involuntary or contested, the adoption process could take from six months to a year.  Notices of all hearings on involuntary terminations are sent to the non-custodial parent.

Are there costs involved?

You must pay the adoption filing fee.  You must also file for a new birth certificate.

If the adoption involves an involuntary termination, you must pay to place a public notice of adoption in a legal newspaper. You may also be responsible for additional fees if the court must provide additional services, such as serving subpoenas.

Who will have access to the adoption records?

All adoption records are confidential and permanently closed to the public.

Identifying or non-identifying information from the adoption record may be released only to adoptive parents, biological parents, or adoptees over 18 years of age.

Minor Marriages

The Family Division of the 46th Circuit Trial Court is authorized to approve or deny a minor's request to marry if the female is pregnant or has a child. The under age applicant and his/her parents or legal guardian must live in a county within this court’s jurisdiction.

In all marriages, both applicants must present:

    1.A birth certificate

    2.Proof of VD/HIV counseling and test

    3.Blood tests on Michigan Health Certificate forms.

Blood tests must be done within 30 days of application for license. VD/HIV counseling must be done within 60 days of application.

If we are both under 16, whose permission is required for us to marry?

When both applicants are under 16 you will need the consent of all natural or adoptive living parents. Even if the parents are divorced, you will still need consent from the non-custodial parent.

What if only one of us is under 16?

When only one applicant is under 16, you will need the consent of that applicant's natural or adoptive parents. If the parents are divorced the custodial parent is the only one who can give legal consent

If the parents are divorced, is the non-custodial parent notified of the marriage?

Yes. The non-custodial parent will be notified of the marriage license application by personal service or registered mail at the last known address. In addition, the custodial parent must complete an affidavit (sworn statement) stating that the non-custodial parent has been notified.

What if the non-custodial parent objects?

The non-custodial parent has 5 days to enter an objection to the court.

What if the parent is in jail or a mental institution?

The consent of that parent would not be required.

What if either parent is no longer living?

You must present 2 copies of the death certificate.

Will we need proof of pregnancy?

Yes. The female must present a doctor's statement verifying the pregnancy or lab results of the pregnancy test if she is less than 2 months pregnant. If the applying couple has a child, you must present the child's birth certificate.

What if the male is in the armed forces?

He must show his leave papers, have results of a Michigan blood test, and allow enough time for license processing.

What if we are both unemployed?

The license will not be approved. One applicant must present proof of employment and earnings through recent pay stubs or a letter from the employer.

What if one of the applicants is on probation?

Any applicant on probation must have written consent of his/her probation officer.

What are the fees?

The fee for a marriage license is set by the Court.

If you are being married by the clergy, you must present a statement written on church stationary signed by the clergy indicating that he/she is willing to perform the ceremony.

The clergy must also provide you with his/her own undated certificate. This is your only legal proof of the marriage.

Where do we apply for the marriage license?

You must bring all the necessary forms to the Family Court.

All documents must show your name as it appears on the legal birth records. Do not use nicknames or abbreviations.

How To Change Your Name

Who can file for a name change?

Any resident who has lived in this court’s jurisdiction at least one year can file a name change petition for themselves, a spouse, or their minor children, provided they have legal custody. Each person seeking a name change must have been a resident for at least one year within this court’s jurisdiction.

How much does it cost?

$100 filing fee for adult name changes (Cash, certified check, or money order made payable to the 46tt1 Circuit Trial Court).

$10 for a certified copy of the name change order for adult or minor. (Cash, certified check, or money order, made payable to 46th Circuit Trial Court).  $1 each if more copies are ordered when the petition is filed.

How do I get my name changed?

Fill out a Petition for Change of Name, available at the Clerk's Office. You must list the reason for the name change.

If the name change involves a child, you need the child's name and address. Also, you need addresses and signatures of the non-custodial parent(s). The only time a child can have their name changed without the non-custodial parent(s) approval is if the parents have substantially failed to visit the child and failed to provide support for the last 2 years.

If the child is 14 or older, the child must sign the petition.

What happens next?

You will be given a printout with the date and time to return to court for a hearing. You must attend the hearing.

On the day that you file your name change petition, you must choose a legal newspaper which will print a notice of name change filing.

What happens after the hearing?

The court will prepare an Order Changing Name. A certified copy of the order will be mailed to you if you have paid the fee.

Does the Court change the name on the birth certificate?

No. You must send an application for a new birth certificate to the Michigan Department of Public Health with a check or money order. Contact the Bureau of Vital Statistics in Lansing (517) 335-8666 to get a copy of this form, and the fee amount.

Court hours are 8:00 am to 4:30 p.m., Monday-Friday, except holidays.