3 Roadblocks to a Successful Name Change

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.

4 Ways to Avoid Legal Trouble When Filing Your Taxes

No one likes paying taxes, but it’s part of being a good citizen. And they’re required by law. One of the primary goals when paying the IRS is to stay out of legal trouble when filing. Here are four ways to do just that.

#1: File Your Taxes on Time

Many individuals and businesses need a little grace period when it comes to tax time, which is what extensions are for. But if you don’t file your taxes on time and don’t file for an extension, you could find yourself in trouble. You can face not only penalties, but it could put up a red flag when it comes time for audits.

#2: Don’t Sign Off on Errors

Errors happen, but if you have someone else do your taxes and then you blindly sign off on them without checking their numbers, you are the one left liable. Don’t let yourself get into legal trouble because of someone else’s mistakes. Check the work before you sign.

#3: Don’t Use the Wrong Forms

The wrong forms could put you in a world of hurt, even if you use them unintentionally. Be careful when filing that you use the right forms for your financial situation.

#4: Don’t Claim What You’re Not Eligible For

Claiming dependents that don’t qualify as dependents, taking deductions that you aren’t eligible for, and writing off business expenses that don’t properly qualify are great ways to raise red flags. If you get audited, and they find that you made those claims on purpose, you could be in for a legal battle. 

If you find yourself in legal trouble when filing your taxes, there is help. Contact the tax team at McCutchen McLean, LLC for legal representation that can help you get out from under the mess.



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