SC: Name Change

Adult Name Changes

Outside of marriage or divorce, changing your name in South Carolina will require a separate legal process. South Carolina law permits its residents to apply for a name change by petitioning the court. If you are considering changing your name, you should be prepared to do the following:

  • Get fingerprints taken at your local law enforcement agency and undergo a criminal background check by the State Law Enforcement Division (SLED);
  • Fill out a petition for a name change, including reasons for the name change and file with the family court where you reside;
  • Submit documentation of any child support obligations or alimony orders;
  • Sign a sworn affidavit as to the truth of the matters included in the petition; and

Some obvious cases where a name change won’t be allowed are for fraudulent or illegal purposes, such as to avoid being sued, to avoid paying debts or taxes, or to avoid paying child or spousal support. Residents of South Carolina who are on the sex offender registry, in custody of the DOC, listed on the DSS Central Registry of Child Abuse and Neglect, or who have a criminal record can still apply for a name change. A judge will consider your petition to change your name and, if it is determined that a hearing is required, may ask questions about your desired name change. If the court grants your petition, it will issue an order changing your name and the court clerk will notify the proper department so they can update their records. Copies of that order will be necessary to change you name on your ID, with government agencies, and with banks and insurance companies.

Changing your name in South Carolina can be a lengthy and time-consuming process. Our experienced South Carolina attorneys at Touchstone Family Law can be there to assist you every step of the way and make it as painless as possible.

Minor Name Changes 

Parents have the right to change the name of their child, a minor (under eighteen years of age). Minor name changes in the State of South Carolina, however, involve a lengthier process and, unlike adult name changes, will always require a court hearing in front of a judge.  Minor name changes also differ from adult name changes in that the former requires the court to appoint a Guardian ad Litem (GAL) to determine if the name change is in the child’s best interest. The appointment of a GAL is required even if both parents agree to the name change and are both active in petitioning for the name change.

At the hearing, the family court judge will consider testimony from both parents as well as the GAL and decide whether the name change is best for the minor child. If the judge approves the name change, he or she will provide a signed Order for Name Change of Minor. Such order will allow you to update the minor’s name with the Social Security Administration and other agencies.  If you are considering changing your child’s name, schedule a consult with one of Touchstone Family Law’s experienced South Carolina attorneys.