Name changes aren’t as simple as filling out a form. They require knowledge of the laws and an understanding of the process. Let’s take a look at three of the common roadblocks to successful name changes in South Carolina.
1: Changing Your Child’s Name
Changing your child’s name requires that a lawsuit be filed in the Family Court. The County where the suit is filed is determined by many factors. When the other parent is still living, then either must consent to the name change, or the case will be a contested case. There are limited circumstances when the other parent does not have to be involved in the child’s name change suit, and if so, that parent’s consent is not necessary. A name change lawsuit for a child will require that the court appoint Guardian ad Litem (GAL) for the child, even if the case is uncontested. The Guardian’s role is to determine if the name change is being requested for proper reasons and if it is in the child’s best interest. The GAL will also be paid by one or both parents.
2: Name Change in a Divorce
This is perhaps the easiest method of changing one’s name. A spouse can request to change their name during the divorce lawsuit, and therefore, a separate lawsuit is not necessary. However, the person requesting the name change still must give evidence that the name change is not for an improper reason such as to avoid prior court ordered alimony or child support; or to avoid creditors or law enforcement; or for other specific reasons set forth in South Carolina statutes. The name change order maybe incorporated into the Divorce Decree or may be issued in a stand-alone order.
3: Adult Name Change
If you choose to change your own name, you are still required to file suit in the Family Court of your county. There are specific statutory requirements as to the content of what your lawsuit must state, and as to what documents must be attached to your lawsuit. These attachments may include fingerprints, affidavits, statements from SLED and from the Department of Social Services. If not completed and submitted correctly, the court may not grant your name change request
While the name change process sounds complicated, there are ways to simplify it and prevent those roadblocks that can keep it from moving forward. For help making sure the process goes smoothly, count on the legal team at McCutchen McLean, LLC. Contact them today to get started.