If an adult wants to change his or her name (besides resuming a maiden name), there is a statutory procedure that must be followed. First, the person must file a petition with the family court giving the reason for the name change, the person’s age, the person’s place of residence and birth, and the name by which he or she wants to be known. Also, the following things must be attached to the petition:
The results of a fingerprint and criminal background check by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED);
A screening from the Department of Social Services (DSS) that shows whether the person is on DSS’s registry of child abuse and neglect;
An affidavit of the person requesting the name change that states whether the person is under a court order to pay child support or alimony; and
A screening statement from SLED that indicates whether the person is on SLED’s sex offender registry.
Our lawyers will handle most of these things for you, but you will have to go to the Sheriff’s Department to complete your fingerprint card before we can get the background check from SLED.
In many cases, we can have the name change granted without a hearing, but sometimes the judge may require a hearing before granting the name change. The judge will consider the true interest of the person and the protection of the public before deciding whether to grant the name change. By statute, the changing of a name doesn’t affect, limit, or reduce the person’s (or his or her estate’s) obligations to others.
If you want to download and complete the packet without the assistance of an attorney, please visit our forms center.