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How to Legally Change Your Name in South Carolina

It is not uncommon for women to change their name as part of a divorce, whether they are resuming their maiden name or even a prior married name.  While it is relatively easy to do this as part of a divorce, it’s much more complicated when doing so any other time.

The issue often requires some serious thought for women, as they must weigh their emotional connection to their name and also consider the impact a change might have on their children or even their careers. Working through those issues requires some introspection, and the answer will not be the same for everyone.

If you have made the decision to legally change your name in South Carolina, it is wise to consult a South Carolina family law attorney to help guide you through the process. The requirements for a legal name changes are set forth in South Carolina Code Section 15-49-10, and the following items are required in order for the Family Court to be able to consider your request:

  • You must request a name change kit from the State Law Enforcement Division. This kit comes with information about ordering a background check and how to get your fingerprints done.
  • You then need to go to your local law enforcement office to get fingerprinted, and send the fingerprint card, background check form, and the required fee. After it’s processed, the State Law Enforcement Division will send you a copy of the completed background check.
  • In addition, you will need to obtain verification from the Department of Social Services that you are not listed on the Central Registry of child abuse and neglect. You’ll pay a nominal fee to have this report run.
  • Finally, you’ll need a similar verification showing that you are not listed on the state Sex Offender Registry.

Once all of the required documents have been gathered, your South Carolina family law attorney will file a name change petition with the Family Court and schedule a hearing, at which you must testify as to your requested name and the reason(s) for same. After that, the judge signs the name change order and voila! – it’s done.

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