In an earlier blog discussion, I addressed the issue of legally changing a minor child’s name. As Part Two of the Name Change Series, this discussion addresses the issue of legally changing an adult’s name.
An adult woman who wishes to resume her maiden name can do so as part of pending divorce proceedings. If that route is taken, as part of the final divorce decree, the woman’s maiden name is resumed. There is no need for further court proceedings.
In all other cases, if adults—men or women—wish to change their names, they may petition the Family Court to do so.
South Carolina requires a hearing for a Name Change. As the first step, several background checks must be done for an individual to present information to the Court, along with the filing of a Petition for a Name Change in Family Court. The Family Court Clerk of Court’s Office will then schedule a hearing before a Family Court Judge, where the Judge will review the background checks’ documentation and will ask a series of questions of the individual who is seeking the name change. The documentation, questions and hearing are an effort to ensure the reason for seeking a name change is not one contrary to public policy. For example, the court does not want to approve a name change for an individual who is trying to avoid criminal prosecution.
Assuming the paperwork is approved, the Judge will Order the name change. It is then the responsibility of the adult to change all other legal documentation, including bank account information, social security card information, drivers’ licenses, passports and more.
If you wish to retain private counsel to assist you throughout the name change process, please contact our office for a consultation.