South Carolina Name Change Forms – How to Change Your Name in SC

Updated December 03, 2021

A South Carolina name change form is completed by individuals in pursuit of a legal name change so that they can petition their case before a judge. Aside from name changes made after marriage or after divorce, adults may wish to change their name, or the name of a minor (anyone under eighteen years of age) for religious, ethnic, political, or other personal reasons. Both adult and minor name change petitions will have to be filed with the family court in the county where the adult/minor resides. Minor name changes in the State of South Carolina involve a lengthier process and, unlike adult name changes, will always require a court hearing in front of a judge. Fortunately, the name change laws in South Carolina are very definitive, and the process remains the same throughout every county.

Laws§ 15-49

Table of Contents

Name Change After Marriage

Either spouse can change their names after they get married, however, only your last name can be changed, not your first name. Your newly chosen name (most likely your spouse’s last name) will be written on your marriage decree. Once the decree is approved by a judge, you can bring it with you to the SSA and DMV to update your Social Security and driver’s license. If you, or both you and your spouse, decide later to hyphenate your last names, you will have to file a petition and go through the standard name changing process (see ‘Adult Name Change’ section below).

Name Change After Divorce

Changing your name after a divorce is easy; simply include a clause in your divorce petition stating your intent to use your maiden name (or the name you had prior to this marriage). You will be asked to testify before the judge at your divorce hearing and state your desire to revert back to your previous name. The judge will fill out the divorce decree, which you can use to update your name change on your Social Security, driver’s license, and any other documents/agencies/accounts that require attention.

Adult Name Change (No Marriage or Divorce)

Any individual eighteen (18) years of age or older can petition for a name change. Citizens of South Carolina who are on the sex offender registry, in custody of the DOC, listed on the DSS Central Registry of Child Abuse and Neglect, or who have a criminal record can still apply for a name change. However, an affidavit must be signed to ensure the information provided to the judge is true and that the individual was not convicted of any crimes under a different name. Falsifying an affidavit is an offense punishable by a fine and/or jail time. A judge will be assigned to all name change cases and will have the final say as to whether or not the name change is appropriate.  If an individual is in one of the aforementioned situations and gets their name change approved, the court clerk will notify the proper department so they can update their records.

Step 1 – Background Check

In order to petition for a name change, you must first get your fingerprints taken at your local law enforcement agency (typically costs $10). Download and complete the Name Change Records Check Form. Mail the Name Change Records Check Form, fingerprint card, $25 (business check, certified, check, cashier’s check, or money order only), and a self-addressed postage paid envelope to the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) at the following address:

  • South Carolina Law Enforcement Division
    P.O. Box 21398
    Columbia, South Carolina 29221
    ATTN: Records

Results of the background check will be mailed to you; keep all returned forms so you can bring them to your hearing.

Step 2 – Department of Social Services (DSS) Consent Form

Download the Consent to Release Information Form (DSS Form 3072) and complete all appropriate fields (enter your own address under the “Mail Results To” section). You must sign this form in front of a witness or notary public. This form authorizes the DSS to conduct a search of your name in the Child Abuse and Neglect Central Registry and release any results they find. Mail this form and a check for $8 to the following address:

  • South Carolina Department of Social Services
    ATTN: Cashier
    P.O. Box 1520
    Columbia, South Carolina 29202-1520

The results will be mailed back to you so you can bring them to your hearing.

Step 3 – Complete Petition, Affidavits, and Hearing Request

Download and complete the Petition for Name Change Form, the Conviction Affidavit, the Child Support/Alimony Affidavit, and the Request for Hearing Form. Make sure you sign the affidavits in front of a notary public.

Step 4 – File Petition

Once you have received the results from SLED and the DSS, bring them to your local family court along with the Petition, both Affidavits, the Request for Hearing, a copy of your original birth certificate, and the $150 filing fee. The court clerk will provide a hearing date and time.

Step 5 – Cover Sheet

Download and complete the Family Court Cover Sheet. You will need to bring this form to the court on your hearing date.

Step 6 – Attend Hearing

Appear before the judge at the determined time and present to them the Family Court Cover Sheet. If the judge deems the change lawful and appropriate, they will sign a Name Change Order. (In some cases, the judge will issue a name change order without a hearing.) Have the court clerk make certified copies of the Order so you can update your name with the necessary agencies and on the appropriate legal documents.

Driver’s License

You are required to notify the DMV within ten (10) days of your legal name change. First, you have to change your name with the Social Security Administration (SSA) before updating your driver’s license. To complete this process, download and fill out the Application for a Social Security Card (Form SS-5). Send this form (by mail or in person) to your local SSA office along with proof of identity, proof of name change, and proof of lawful U.S. presence.

Once you’ve received your new Social Security card, you can apply for a new driver’s license with the DMV. Download and complete the Application for Name Change Form (Form 4057) and the appropriate driver’s license application form – Form 447-NC (driver’s license, permit, and ID card application) or Form 447-CDL (commercial driver’s license application). Bring the completed forms and proof of your name change to your local DMV (or mail the application), and pay the required fees (see list below).

  • Driver’s license (commercial and non-commercial): $10
  • Driver’s permit: $2.50
  • ID card: $5

Voter Registration

It’s important that you update your voter registration information after changing your name so you can vote in upcoming elections. You can update your voter registration information online or by mail.

  • Online: Visit the South Carolina online registration web portal and follow the prompts. Note: you must have a valid driver’s license or ID card with your updated name on it issued by the S.C. DMV before completing the online voter registration process.
  • Mail/Fax/Scan/In-Person: Download and fill out the Update Voter Registration Form. Find the nearest county elections office to you and mail, fax, scan, or hand deliver the form to them.

Minor (Child) Name Change

Parents have the right to change the name of their child, a minor (under eighteen years of age), by filing a petition at their family court in the county where they live. Unlike an adult name change, all minor name change petitions must be processed through a judge in a court hearing. Another distinction between an adult and a minor name change process is that the latter requires the court to appoint a guardian ad litem (GAL) to handle the case. Even if both parents agree to the name change, and are both active in the petitioning for the child, a GAL is hired to ensure the name change is in the child’s best interests. They charge an hourly rate (typically between $150 – $175/hour) and, at the time of the hearing, will report their findings to the judge.

Step 1 – File Petition

Download and complete the Petition for Name Change of Minor Form. The petition must be filled out by you, a parent of the minor, with the other parent being a party in the action. (If only one parent is available/alive, the child will be named as a party in the action). File the petition at the family court where your child resides.

Step 2 – Guardian Ad Litem

A GAL will be appointed to the case once you file the petition. The GAL will sit down with the minor and review their living arrangement and current status of well-being. A guardian ad litem typically charges between $150 and $175 an hour and you can expect them to spend 2-3 hours on a case.

Step 3 – Attend Hearing

Adult name changes are often granted outside of a court hearing, allowing for a quicker, smoother process. However, a minor name change in South Carolina must be conducted by a judge in the family court where the minor resides. The judge needs to hear from the parent(s), as well as the GAL. They will consider the testimony and decide whether or not it seems the name change is best for the minor. If the judge approves of the name change, they will provide a signed Order for Name Change of Minor (also referred to as a Decree). Ask a court clerk to make certified copies of the Order so you can update the minor’s name with the SSA and other agencies.