We’ve finally arrived at a point where more people feel comfortable in their own skins. People are a bit more accepting today than they were just ten years ago. This is why more transgender people are making the decision to change their names.
When someone announces that they’re transgender, it’s a big deal. Sure, people who know them aren’t surprised. But the people they work with or see socially may not know that they’re transgender.
Making a decision to legally change your name makes it official. You will be able to legally go by the name you want rather than the name you were given at birth. This makes the transition a bit easier. It also allows you to identify as the person you know you are in your heart.
Legally changing your name sounds easy. A lot of people think all they have to do is fill out a form and pay a fee. It’s not that easy. In fact, it’s a good idea you have an experienced Greenville family lawyer handle the name change for you.
What is the Legal Process for Changing Your Name?
Changing your name in South Carolina takes a few steps. Your request is going to be filed with the county court. A family law judge is going to review your petition and make a decision. Here are the basic steps to applying for a name change:
- File a petition with your local family court
- Pay the filing fee
- Complete a fingerprint processing request
- Consent to a criminal and financial background check
- Attend a hearing (this hearing may be waived depending on your judge)
- If approved, submit your name change order to the Social Security Administration
If you miss a form or deadline, your petition will be dismissed. This means you’ll have to start all over again. You have to pay a new filing fee each time you submit a new request. This can become expensive and time consuming. That’s why we suggest you have a Greenville family lawyer handle the process for you.
The reason you have to complete fingerprints and the background checks is for the court. They need to make sure you aren’t making the name change request to evade creditors. They also need to make sure you aren’t attempting to avoid criminal responsibility.
Your lawyer understands this. If you have any issues in your background check, your Greenville family law attorney can try to explain these things to your judge. The judge will take your lawyer more seriously. Courts tend to believe attorneys more than they do parties to a case.
Why a Judge May Deny Your Request
As long as your background checks come back clean, your name change petition should be granted. The court just needs to ensure that you’re looking to change your name for a good reason. They also need to make sure that your name change won’t interfere with any pending civil or criminal legal action.
Your name change request could be denied for any of the following reasons:
- Someone already has that name and challenges your using it
- You’re looking to change your name to that of a celebrity
- The judge believes you’re looking to avoid creditors
- There is criminal charges pending against you
- The name is lewd or sexual in nature
Rarely will the judge deny your petition for reasons other than those listed above. The court has little interest in what you change your name to. They just need to make sure you’re not being deceitful in your request.
Practical Implications of a Name Change
Once your name change is approved, you need to change your name for public records purposes. Make sure you register your new name with the Social Security Administration. This way, your social security number is associated with your new name.
You also want to change your names on things like employment records, bank accounts and property deeds. You’ll need a copy of your court order to do these things. Your Greenville family lawyer can handle all of this for you.
Keep in mind – changing your name is a big deal. You’ll want to make sure you notify everyone who matters that you’ve changed your name. Let the post office know. Let your credit card companies know. Get a new driver’s license.
Contact a Greenville Family Lawyer Today
If you’re transgender and looking to change your name, you should call a Greenville family lawyer today. He can help file your petition and complete all of the background checks. He can also attend your hearing with you.
You don’t want to handle a legal matter by yourself if you don’t have to. There is just too much at stake. Make sure you have an experienced professional by your side.