So you are wanting to change your name and you want to know how to change your name or what to expect if you are meeting with an attorney about legally changing your name. Well, here are the steps that will be required when you want to change your name in South Carolina. Legal name changes are governed by South Carolina Code Section 15-49-10.
Before a name change petition can be filed with the Family Court, you must take care of some administrative things. First you have to request a name change kit from the State Law Enforcement Division (SLED). This kit will include information on ordering a background check and a fingerprint card. You should go to a local law enforcement office to get fingerprinted. That fingerprint card should be sent in with the background check form along with a check for $25.00. A few days later you will receive a copy of the background check from SLED.
You must also obtain a screening statement from the Department of Social Services stating that you are not on any child abuse or neglect registries. There is an $8.00 charge for this statement. You will need to fill out a form and mail the form and payment in and several days later you will receive that report.
You should also get verification that you are not on the State Sexual Offender Registry.
After that, you or your attorney will file a petition for name change with the Family Court asking for the legal name change. From there you will most likely have a hearing where you have to testify before the judge about the reason you are seeking a name change. The statute does not say that a hearing is absolutely required, so to me that leaves it up to the discretion of the judge. I have seen it go both ways, where a judge signs a name change order without a hearing and other times where the judge requires a hearing.