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What to expect when processing a name change after divorce

On Behalf of | Sep 29, 2023 | Divorce |

Names hold meaning and power. They help provide a link to people’s past and define their present situations. However, when circumstances change, such as taking on divorce, some prefer to apply for a name change to let go of any association with their ex.

Knowing what to expect in the process can guide interested parties to prepare the necessary paperwork and address other significant matters.

Pursuing a name change

Per South Carolina law, those interested in changing their names must have lived in the state for at least six months. After qualifying by presenting proof of residence, they can often revert to their names before the marriage quickly if there is a name change provision in their marital settlement agreement.

Others can petition the court for a formal order and state the reasons for their request. Other things they can also anticipate are:

  • A criminal background check
  • A signed affidavit detailing child and spousal support payment obligations
  • A sworn declaration about the truthfulness of concerns included in the petition
  • A case presentation before a judge under the guidance of their legal counsel

The state also imposes specific restrictions since there are legal implications when changing names. Some prohibited reasons include avoiding pending criminal charges and other unlawful activities, defrauding creditors, filing for bankruptcy, or evading passport limitations and terrorist watchlists. 

Embracing a new identity

With a new name comes the responsibility to sort things out before using it. The petitioner must inform every affected person or entity, including other family members, employers, and bank, driving or insurance companies. Legal representation can help streamline the process and expedite the path to a new identity.