LGBTQ Legal Services

“All people regardless of their sexual orientation or identity deserve a safe and supportive environment in which to achieve their full potential”.  -Harvey Milk

At Kehl Culbertson Andrighetti, we embrace diversity and advocate tirelessly for equality, inclusion, acceptance, and recognition. We also recognize the unique legal issues that members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities face, and we are here to assist with a wide range of legal issues, including:

  • Name changes
  • Gender marker corrections
  • Amended birth certificates
  • Updating ID documents 
  • Step-Parent and Second Parent Adoptions
  • Assisted Reproductive Technology
    • Co-maternity Agreements
    • Gestational Carrier Agreements
    • Egg, Sperm, and Embryo Donation Agreements
    • Parentage Orders
  • Estate planning – Wills, Trusts, Powers of Attorney 


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About Name Changes

There are many reasons for seeking a name change:    

  • You want your name to reflect your gender identity
  • You were not legally adopted, but would like to take your stepparent's last name
  • You are divorced and want to return to your maiden name
  • You want to take you mother's family name
  • You and your spouse/partner want to combine your last names to create a hyphenated or completely new last name

In the past, it was not uncommon for government agencies to accept a change of name based on common usage, despite what was on that individual’s birth certificate, or despite the lack of a birth certificate.  Security regarding individual identity has tightened in the post-9/11 world, however, and government agencies are increasingly hesitant to recognize a change of name or issue new forms of identification without a court order granting a name change or authorizing the issuance of a delayed birth certificate.  Further, certain identifying documents bearing one’s name, such as a Social Security card or out-of-state driver’s license, used to be sufficient for obtaining new or current identification.  This is no longer the case in almost all states/state agencies, and many, like the South Carolina DMV, now require a valid, certified birth certificate before issuing a license for the first time.  

In South Carolina, legal name changes (not incident to marriage or divorce) and delayed birth certificates can only be obtained via court order.  A person seeking a change of name or issuance of a delayed birth certificate must petition the family court in the county where s/he resides and will typically be required to attend a hearing before a family court judge to obtain an order. Additionally, the pre-court process is laden with cumbersome and confusing paperwork. To those unfamiliar with the process, it may seem quite overwhelming and, ultimately, not worth the effort.

If you’re considering a name change, contact our office and let one of our experienced attorneys help you navigate the process. No matter your reason for seeking a legal name change, we can will walk you through each step from beginning to end to ensure that your experience as painless as possible!


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