During the divorce process, there are a lot of decisions you must make. It can be a stressful time. You probably do not want to pile any additional decisions on yourself. Once you finalize your divorce, though, you may realize that you would like to change your last name. For some people, carrying the last name of an ex-spouse is detrimental to moving on. For others, it is part of the past that they wish to let go. In any case, changing your name is a legal process that requires going through the court. 

The South Carolina Legislature explains that you can petition the court for a name change as long as you include all the required information. In the petition itself, you need to include your address, age and the new name you wish to use. You must also explain why you want to change your name. 

You will also need to have several attachments with the petition. You must provide a statement on whether you are on the sex offender registry or the Central Registry of Child Abuse and Neglect. You have to provide a criminal background check from the State Law Enforcement Division, which will require fingerprinting. You also need to include an affidavit stating whether you pay alimony or child support. 

The court may still grant your name change request if you do have a criminal background or appear on any list or registry, but you may have to take additional steps to update such information. You will also likely have to go to court in front of a judge to have a hearing on your name change request before the court will grant it regardless of whether your checks come back clear.