South Dakota Name Change Law

Name Change – General – South Dakota

Note:  This summary is not intended to be an all inclusive discussion of the law applicable to an action for change of name in the State of South Dakota, but does include basic and other provisions.

Name Change Action Allowed: In South Dakota, an adult may change their name by filing an action in the Circuit Court with appropriate forms.

Who is an adult? A person who has attained the age of 18 years is considered an adult.

Who is a minor? A person who has not attained the age of 18 years is considered a minor.

Is there any reason why a person might not be allowed to change his or her name? Yes.  The court must find that the requested name change is consistent with the public interest.  A person is not allowed to change their name in order to avoid judgments or legal actions against him or her, or to avoid debts and obligations.  A person can not change their name to defraud any person. The Court must find (1) residency for six months in the county in which the name change has been filed; (2) that the allegations of the Petition are true; (3) that the required Notice has been given and Proof of Publication filed with the Court; and (4) that there exists proper and reasonable cause for changing the name of the petitioner.

Requirements for Name Change Order: For an order of name change to be granted, the court must find compliance with the statute and that there exists proper and reasonable cause for changing the name of the petitioner.  A change of name upon marriage, dissolution, or divorce meets these requirements.

Is Publication of a Notice Required? Yes, Notice must be published once a week for four (4) consecutive weeks in the county paper authorized to publish legal notice.

Who must be provided notice of the Petition? The General Public by way of publication.

Can individuals “object” to the Petition for Name Change? Yes.  Any reasonable objections made to the court may influence the court’s findings as to whether there are sufficient reasons not to grant the request and whether the change of name is consistent with the public interest.

Procedures: The process for obtaining a name change for an adult in the State of South Dakota begins with the filing of a Petition in the Circuit Court stating the Petitioner’s name, the name the Petitioner wishes to assume, the reason for the name change, and affirming that the Petitioner has been a county resident for the six month period prior to filing the Petition.

The Petitioner must then publish a Notice of Hearing setting forth the Petitioner’s name, the name the Petitioner seeks to assume, and the time and place of the hearing on the Petition.  The Notice must be published once a  week for four (4) consecutive weeks in the county newspaper authorized to publish legal notice.

After proof of publication has been filed, a hearing will be held at the time and place scheduled.  If the Court is satisfied that notice of the hearing has been given, that the allegations of the petition are true, and that there exists proper and reasonable cause for changing the name of the petitioner, it will issue an Order directing a change in Petitioner’s name.

Additional Information and Instructions:

Statutes:

Circuit court power to change names – Pending proceedings and existing rights unaffected:
The circuit court shall have authority to change the names of persons, municipalities, and the name of any recorded plat or map of land situated within the limits of any municipality, as provided in this chapter. The change of names shall in no manner affect or alter any pending action or legal proceeding, nor any right, title, or interest whatsoever.  [South Dakota Codified Laws, Title 21. Judicial Remedies, Chapter 21-37. Change of Name, § 21-37-1.]

Residence required for change of name of person – Proceedings:
Any person who has been a bona fide resident of any county of this state for a period of six months next preceding the filing of the petition required in § 21-37-3, may change his or her name by proceeding as provided by §§ 21-37-3 to 21-37-5, inclusive.  [South Dakota Codified Laws, Title 21. Judicial Remedies, Chapter 21-37. Change of Name, § 21-37-2.]

Circuit court power to change names – Pending proceedings and existing rights unaffected:
A petition for change of name of a person must be filed in the office of the clerk of courts of the county of petitioner’s said residence, entitled in the circuit court for said county and stating that the petitioner has been a bona fide resident citizen of such county for at least six months prior to filing the petition; the cause for which change of petitioner’s name is sought; and the name asked for.  [South Dakota Codified Laws, Title 21. Judicial Remedies, Chapter 21-37. Change of Name, § 21-37-3.]

Single petition for certain family members:
Persons who are married pursuant to § 25-1-1 and any natural or adopted child of either person may file one petition for change of name.  [South Dakota Codified Laws, Title 21. Judicial Remedies, Chapter 21-37. Change of Name, § 21-37-3.1.]

Publication of notice of hearing on change of name of person:
Notice of the hearing on change of name of a person, stating the time and place and object thereof with the old and proposed names of the petitioner, shall be given by publishing the same once each week for four successive weeks in any legal newspaper of the county of petitioner’s residence.  [South Dakota Codified Laws, Title 21. Judicial Remedies, Chapter 21-37. Change of Name, § 21-37-4.]

Hearing and order changing name of person:
At the time and place specified in the notice and upon proof in open court to the satisfaction of the judge thereof that notice of the hearing has been given as provided in § 21-37-8 and that two-thirds of the legal voters of such municipality desire such change of name, and that there is no other municipality in the state of the name asked for, or in the case of proposed change of name of a platted or mapped portion of a municipality, that there is no other platted or mapped portion of the same name as proposed in said municipality, unless the portion is being added to a portion with the name to which change is sought, the court or judge may order and direct such change of name and direct the clerk to enter such order.  [South Dakota Codified Laws, Title 21. Judicial Remedies, Chapter 21-37. Change of Name, § 21-37-5.]

Judgment for costs against petitioner:
All proceedings under this chapter shall be at the cost of the petitioner and judgment may be entered against him for costs as in other civil actions.  [South Dakota Codified Laws, Title 21. Judicial Remedies, Chapter 21-37. Change of Name, § 21-37-10.]

Other Name Change References:

Age of minority — Calculation of age:
Minors are natural male persons and natural female persons under eighteen years of age. The periods thus specified must be calculated from the first minute of the day on which persons are born, to the same minute of the corresponding day completing the period of minority.  [South Dakota Codified Laws, Title 26. Minors, Chapter 01. Rights and Obligations of Minors, § 26-1-1.]


Inside South Dakota Name Change Law