South Carolina name change for transgender people

Disclaimer: This is legal talk, not legal advice. Laws vary by state, and some of the information discussed on this page may not be applicable in your case. I cannot guarantee the accuracy of this information and provide it without warranty. Laws change and this information may contain errors and omissions. It is up to you to confirm any information herein by doing your own research.

South Carolina allows for women in our community to change their names before they have sex reassignment surgery.

A reader wrote in June 2004:

I was goofin' around the site the last couple days and was reading your page with links on how to change personal information on driver's licenses. I noticed that there's no information listed for South Carolina. Having lived through the experience (with only minimal scarring, no less), I can provide some information on that.

This is a link to some general information on SC licenses:

In there (about halfway down) is information on how to change your name.

It requires completing Form 4057 (available in PDF at, submitting a certified copy of your court order and paying a fee. Form 4057 is used for licenses as well as car registrations. Name changes must be applied for in person at a DMV office.

Changing sex designation requires proof that you have completed surgery. SCDMV headquarters told me that a letter from your surgeon attesting that you have completed surgery is required before your sex designator will be changed. As with name changes, this must be done at a DMV office.(My own experiences varied somewhat from this [especially since I had previously been licensed in SC], but since they were atypical, I'll not really go into them here, other than to say some offices are real sticklers about it, and other offices aren't nearly as anal-retentive about it. Let's just say that having been through it in two states has been just about enough to discourage me from ever moving to another state.... :) )

About name-change in SC, it's handled as a Family Court matter. You file with the Clerk of Court in your county of residence and it's then handed over to family court. Here's the pertinent section of SC judicial code, which has more information:

The filing fee is $70.00. Here's a sample of a name-change application from one SC county, which will give you an idea of how the procedure goes: (PDF: requires reader)

[I'm doing all this research third-person because I had my name changed in Florida, where it's very different.]

As always, it's most excellent advice to consult an attorney on this matter. The money you spend will be well worth the headaches you'll save, especially in a culturally-backwards state like this one! :)

Other resources

South Carolina state law

Precedent for transsexuals