Names. We all have them… Each of our parents spent precious time discussing, and perhaps arguing, what to name each of us. Sometimes, however, we wish to go by another name for any number of reasons. Maybe you would like to change your own name to go by a “nickname” or change the spelling of your name. Maybe you would like to change the name of your child before they enter school. Maybe you’ve recently gotten a divorce. We often receive questions regarding the process required when legally changing one’s name in South Carolina.
How to Change your Name in SC
South Carolina allows a person to legally change their name or the name of their child by formally petitioning the Family Court. The process involves petitioning the Court with information such as the former and requested name and the reasons for the change, which must be valid and reasonable. An adult wishing to change their name must also go through several screening processes, including background checks, and screenings by the Department of Social Services and the State Law Enforcement Division (SLED). These screenings are to inform the Court of any reasons not to allow the change.
For a parent wishing to change the name of their child, the Court does not require these screenings. However, the Court does take the matter very seriously and will allow the change only if the Court finds that it is in the child’s best interests. The Court requires the consent of both parents of the child, as well as the consent of a Guardian ad Litem, who is appointed by the Court to represent the child’s best interests.
Most Common Legal Name Change in SC
The most common name changes are those resulting from a marriage or divorce and South Carolina laws have a more simplified means for changing one’s name in that situation. A marriage certificate typically allows a recently married person to assume the surname of their spouse. But what happens when you get divorced? Unlike the popular belief, a spouse is not automatically allowed to change their name following a divorce. Fortunately, during divorce or separation proceedings, a spouse may request to resume use of a former name and a Family Court Judge may authorize the name change of a spouse as a result of the divorce action.
Get Started with your South Carolina Name Change Now
Although it may seem simple, navigating the Family Court can be a difficult and stressful procedure. If you are looking to change your name or the name of your child, call us today to discuss the process!