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How to Change Your Name in South Carolina

Changing one’s name is a personal decision, one that often marks a significant life event or a desire for a fresh start. South Carolina provides a legal process to help individuals achieve this. This blog post will guide you through the steps of legally changing your name in the state, based on South Carolina’s Civil Remedies and Procedures, Chapter 49.

Before you embark on the process of changing your name, consider why you want to make this change and weigh these reasons against the requirements and potential implications of doing so.

A name change can affect many areas of your life, from personal relationships to financial and legal status. Thus, it’s important to be absolutely certain that changing your name is the right decision for you.

Understanding South Carolina’s Name Change Law

In South Carolina, the law allows residents who have lived in the state for at least six months to petition for a name change. For minors, a parent may petition on their behalf, and certain conditions may apply.

There are certain cases where a person may be exempt from some provisions of the name change law. For example, a person who wishes to resume her maiden name as a result of a domestic action filed in family court is exempt from certain provisions.

Victims of domestic violence, dating violence, and similar cases may be exempt from the residency requirement if they provide proof of their victim status and a reasonable fear for their safety.

Also, a family court judge may authorize a name change for a person wishing to resume her maiden name in another order, such as an order for separate support and maintenance or a final divorce decree.

How to Change Your Name in South Carolina

Once you determine that you would like to change your name, the following steps must be taken in order to actually bring about a legal name change.

1. File a Petition

Begin the process by filing a written petition with a family court judge in the appropriate circuit. This petition should include the reason for the name change, your age, your place of residence and birth, and the name you wish to adopt.

The appropriate circuit would be the one that covers the area where you live. You can identify your circuit by checking a map of South Carolina’s judicial circuits (see below) or by contacting your local courthouse.

Source: SC Judicial Branch website.

2. Required Documentation

To successfully petition for a name change, certain documents must be provided. These include:

  • Fingerprint and criminal background check results.
  • A statement from the Department of Social Services regarding any child abuse and neglect history.
  • An affidavit confirming any child support or alimony obligations.
  • A statement from the State Law Enforcement Division regarding any sex offender registry status.
  • Proof of at least six months of residency in South Carolina.

All costs associated with the retrieval of the above documentation are the responsibility of the petitioner.

3. Handling Special Cases

If you’re seeking to change a minor’s name, or if you’re seeking to revert to your maiden name or a previous married name during a divorce, additional stipulations apply.

4. Court’s Decision

The court may or may not conduct a hearing on your petition. In the case that they do, you may be required to be present.

In any case the judge will consider your petition, the reasons provided, and any other documentation. Their decision will be made with due regard to your true interest and the protection of the public.


Remember, there are costs associated with the name change process. These include the filing fee for the petition, costs of obtaining a criminal background check, and costs associated with procuring other necessary documents. All these costs are the sole responsibility of the petitioner.

Penalties for False Information

In addition, South Carolina law stipulates penalties for providing false information during the name change process. If you knowingly and willfully falsify the affidavit, upon conviction, you could face a fine of up to one hundred dollars or imprisonment for up to six months, or both.

If you are required to register on the State Law Enforcement Division’s Sex Offender Registry, the penalty for knowingly and willfully falsifying the affidavit is imprisonment for up to ten years.

After the Name Change

Here are a few things to keep in mind after completing a name change in South Carolina.

Legal Use of the New Name

Once your name change is approved, you are legally recognized by your new name. This means you will sue and be sued, plead and be impleaded by your new name. For any ongoing legal proceedings at the time of the name change, the record will be amended to reflect your new name.

Effect of Name Change on Obligations

A name change does not absolve you from existing obligations. This means that obligations extending to your heirs, executors, or administrators remain valid even after your name change.

Updating Your Documents

After your name change, remember to update your identification documents and any legal or personal records, such as your driver’s license, social security card, bank accounts, and so on.

Special Provisions

Upon your request, the court may seal your name change file for safety reasons. In such cases, any court record of the name change petition, proceeding, or order shall not be made public.


Changing your name is a significant decision that requires careful consideration and understanding of the legal process involved. Our guide guide provides an overview of the South Carolina name change process, but individual circumstances may vary. Always consult a legal professional to ensure you fully understand the implications and requirements of a name change.

Disclaimer: This guide is based on the South Carolina Code of Laws as of June 2023. It is not intended to provide legal advice. Always consult with a qualified attorney or legal advisor to understand the current law and how it applies to your specific situation.