FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Ø Can I get a certified copy of someone else's birth certificate (example: spouse or grandchild)? No. State law states that Birth records are confidential and are available only to the person or the parents of the person named in the record. Heirs, legal guardians, or legal representatives requesting a birth certificate will need additional documentation.
Ø Who can get a death or marriage record? Death and marriage records are open to the public. Certified copies may be purchased from county clerks' offices.
Ø Where are vital records filed? Birth and Death records are filed in the county where the birth or death occurred. Marriage licenses are filed in the county where the license was applied for.
Ø What if I am adopted and I need a copy of my birth certificate? Adopted persons' birth certificates are filed at the Michigan Department of Community Health in Lansing. Also recorded in Lansing are records of birth that occurred prior to September 30, 1978 if both parents were not married at the time of the birth.
Ø How can I get a copy of a record? You can either appear in person, or request the record in writing by mail. Picture ID is required in order to issue a certified copy of a record. If the request is by mail, your signature must be notarized.
Ø How long does it take to get a certificate? In-person requests can almost always be processed while you wait. If a request is received via mail, we do our best to get it back in the mail the same day.
Ø How long does it take to get a marriage license? There is a 3-day waiting period after you apply for the license.
Ø How long is the license valid? 30 days after the license is issued.
Ø How much does it cost? $20.00 for Mason County residents; $30.00 for out-of-state applicants.
Ø Do we both have to appear to apply? No. One of the parties may apply provided they know all of the required information for both people.
Ø Where do I apply for my license to marry? If you are Michigan resident, you will apply for the license in the county in which you reside. If you are both residents and you live in different counties, you may apply in either county. The license can be used anywhere in the state. If you are both non-residents but want to be married in Michigan, you must apply in the county in which the wedding will take place.
ASSUMED NAMES FOR BUSINESSES
Ø How much does it cost to register my business name and how often do I have to file? The fee is $10.00 and the certificate needs to be renewed every 5 years.
Ø Why do I have to file my business name? Michigan law (MCL 445.1) requires that a SOLE PROPRIETOR OR CO-PARTNERSHIP file their business name (if other than the real name of the person) at the county clerk's office. The purpose of the law is to place on Public Record who is conducting or transacting business under an assumed name.
Ø Can I use any name I want to? There are a number of regulations that apply when a name is chosen. The Co-partnership Act and Fictitious Name Act require that the name of a sole proprietorship or co-partnership cannot be the same or similar to a name already on file with the county so as to cause confusion or deception. It is the duty of the county clerk to approve or disapprove a name selection.
Ø What if I do business in another county? When you file an assumed name, you have to file in each county in which you will be doing business.
Ø I file in this county; what if the next county has a business with the same name-now what do I do? If you find that someone else is using the same name you will need to do research to find out how long they have been using that name. If they have been in business for a long time, you might want to change your assumed name so there is no confusion to the public. Filing your business name does not create substantive rights to the use of that name.
Ø What if my business is incorporated? If you are incorporated, the ONLY place you should file an assumed name is with the State of Michigan; the same as your Articles of Incorporation. If your bank is advising you that you need a DBA with the county, suggest that the bank call the Corporation Division for verification of this information.
Ø Can I file a DBA if I am less than 18 years old? No. A person who is at least 18 years of age is an adult of legal age for purposes of signing contracts.