South Dakota Legal Name Change



Below are the relevant state statutes, as well as links to the form petitions and instructions for obtaining a legal name change for yourself or a minor.

If, after reviewing the information below, you find the need for further legal assistance, you should visit this online legal service.

If you are seeking a marriage name change or a divorce name change, your marriage license or divorce decree can serve as your legal name change document. Thus you can proceed to Name Change Notification, the final step of the name change process. Otherwise, read the information below and follow the links to learn about obtaining a legal name change.


South Dakota State Code:

Sec. 21-37-1. 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.

Source: CCivP 1877, §§ 734, 737; CL 1887, §§ 5556, 5559; RCCivP 1903, §§ 803, 806; SL 1903, ch 183; RC 1919, §§ 3042, 3045; SDC 1939 & Supp 1960, § 37.1001; SL 1992, ch 60, § 2.

Sec. 21-37-2. 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.

Source: SDC 1939 & Supp 1960, § 37.1002.

Sec. 21-37-3. Petition for change of name of person – Contents. 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.

Source: SDC 1939 & Supp 1960, § 37.1002 (1).

Sec. 21-37-3.1. 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.

Source: SL 1998, ch 128, § 1.

Sec. 21-37-4. 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.

Source: SDC 1939 & Supp 1960, § 37.1002 (2).

Sec. 21-37-5. 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 required in § 21-37-4 and that the allegations of the petition are true, and that there exists proper and reasonable cause for changing the name of the petitioner, the court or judge shall make an order directing a change of the name of the petitioner and directing that such order be entered by the clerk.

Source: SDC 1939 & Supp 1960, § 37.1002 (3).

Sec. 21-37-10. 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.

Source: CCivP 1877, § 737; CL 1887, § 5559; RCCivP 1903, § 806; RC 1919, § 3045; SDC 1939 & Supp 1960, § 37.1001.

State Name Change Petition and Instructions
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