Aug 08

How to Easily Change the Name You Hate in South Carolina Family Court

Written by: Megan Dell


Name Change in South Carolina

When navigating how to legally change your name in South Carolina or wondering “how to get name changed”, you may be surprised by how challenging the change process can be. Especially if you often think, “I hate my last name.”

Reasons to Want a Change the Name You Have

Maybe you have always hated your name and thought, “I want to change my name.” Maybe you want the married name change after marriage in SC. Or maybe you are ready to resume your maiden name as part of reclaiming your identity after a divorce. Regardless of why you want a name change, as long as you can prove the change is for purely personal reasons, the South Carolina Family Court will probably grant your request. If you are looking for information on changing my last name for your kids, read this article.

There are two primary avenues for an adult to change their name in South Carolina: through a dedicated name change action or as part of a separate support and maintenance or divorce action.


change the name you hate inChange your Name in South Carolina Through a Divorce Case

The most common way to change one’s name is through their divorce case. When considering a social security name change divorce, it’s key to remember that a party in a divorce case does not have to determine whether they would like to change their name at the beginning of the case.  This can be decided prior to a final order.

S.C. Code Ann. Section 15-49-20(J) makes the process to request the name change straightforward: You notify the Family Court and the opposing party of a desire to change your name, and at the final hearing, you will be required to provide specific testimony to answer these questions:

  1. Are you under a previous court order to pay child support or alimony?
  2. Have you ever been convicted of a crime under your current name?
  3. Are you hiding from creditors?
  4. Have you ever filed for bankruptcy? Are you considering filing for bankruptcy?
  5. Are you trying to avoid criminal prosecution?
  6. Are you named on any sex offender registry?
  7. Are you named on any child abuse or neglect registry?
  8. Have you ever been denied a passport?

After you give the Family Court judge the answers to these questions, it is more likely than not that your name change request will be granted. You will need to gather the necessary paperwork and legal documents to submit once your name change is granted. This may include any or all of the following: a marriage certificate or marriage license, a South Carolina driver’s license, birth certificate and divorce papers.

Change your Name in South Carolina Through a Name Change Case

The other way one can change their name is through a separate name change case. This is where the only issue before the Court is whether or not a party may change their legal name. Because of the requirements of S.C. Code Ann. Section 15-49-20(A), it can be more complicated than changing your name during a divorce case.

Before filing the petition for name change, which involves a filing fee, you are required to do the following aka take these steps to changing your last name:

  1. Give your fingerprints and have SLED run a criminal background check.
  2. Request a screening of the child abuse and neglect registry from DSS.
  3. Sign an affidavit stating whether you are ordered to pay alimony or child support.

Once you have obtained those documents, you can file the request to change your name. With that request, you will also ask the court clerk for a hearing in front of a judge. A name change without going court is not possible. Also, it’s vital to inform local newspapers as some jurisdictions require name change announcements.

At the final hearing on your petition, you will be asked questions about whether you have filed for bankruptcy or are planning to and whether your ability to travel has ever been limited. One of the most common questions is, “Are you seeking to change your name for purely personal reasons?”

After the Name Change is Granted

Once a South Carolina Family Court judge has granted the request to change your name, you will have to update your name with the Social Security Administration and then obtain a new photo identification card or new south carolina driver’s license from the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles.

When changing the name you dislike, the process can seem overwhelming. The lawyers at Dell Family Law are well-versed in name change cases in South Carolina and are prepared to assist you. If you have any questions regarding changing your child’s last name, don’t hesitate to reach out.

Change the Name you Hate: If You Need Help in South Carolina 

Making sure you get every detail in your name change case right can feel overwhelming. The lawyers of Dell Family Law are well-versed in name change in SC cases and are ready to help you through it. If you have questions regarding changing your child’s last name, let us know. 


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