General Information

Can you give me legal advice?
The Clerk of Court's staff is not permitted to give legal advice nor can we assist you in preparing court filings. If you need help, you should consult an attorney. While you are permitted to represent yourself, self-represented litigants are held to the same standards as attorneys. You must follow and be knowledgeable of all the appropriate rules of court, statutes, and case law that apply to your case.
How can I enroll my notary?
Section 26-1-50 of the SC Code of Law requires that every notary public shall, within fifteen days after he has been commissioned, exhibit his commission to the clerk of the court of the county in which he resides and be enrolled by the clerk. You may enroll your notary between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, except County holidays. The enrollment fee is $10.00. You must bring your original notary certificate and a photo id.
How do I know if I have been involved in a Jury Scam?

Individuals claiming to be court officers or law enforcement officers may contact you stating a warrant has been issued for your failure to appear for jury duty. These individuals will also try to verify your personal information and/or tell you that the warrant can be taken care of by paying a fine with your credit card or by obtaining a pre-paid debit card.

Do not give out any sensitive personal information. Court officials will not ask for confidential information or money over the phone. If you believe you have been a victim of a jury scam, contact your local police agency to file a report about the incident.

How do I pay a traffic ticket?
Contact the court listed on the ticket or contact the arresting agency.

  • Traffic tickets issued in the county are handled at Magistrates Court:  803-283-3983
  • Traffic tickets issued in the city are handled at City Court: 803-283-3313
Where can I get a criminal background check?
What departments are located in the Courthouse?

First Floor

  • Clerk of Court's Office
  • Department of Juvenile Justice
  • Family Courtroom
  • Department of Probation Parole and Pardon Services

Second Floor

  • Probate Court
  • Jury Assembly
  • Circuit Courtroom A
  • Circuit Courtroom B
  • Circuit Courtroom C

Third Floor

  • Office of the 6th Judicial Circuit Solicitor Office
  • Office of the 6th Judicial Circuit Chief Public Defenders Office

Common Pleas

Are bankruptcy preceedings handled in the Court of Common Pleas?
Can you tell me how to appeal a case from another (lower) court?
The Court of Common Pleas hears civil and criminal appeals from Small Claims, Magistrates and Municipal Courts, as well as, some administrative agencies. There is a $150.00 filing fee for civil appeals. Appeals are scheduled as nonjury matters.
Do you provide case and judgement information to companies such as credit bureaus?

The Clerk of Court does not directly provide case information to credit bureaus or any other companies. However, all public records are available for any interested party to research. Public records in civil cases are available in our office or online.

What if I want to appeal the outcome of a Common Pleas Case?
What is the cost for filing a civil case?
Parties initiating a civil action in the Court of Common Pleas are required to pay the appropriate fee at the time the case is filed. The fee is $150.00 for most civil actions; $ 25.00 for motion fees, and a fee of $10.00 is assessed for the filing of a Lis Pendens.
What is the difference between small claims and common pleas?

Generally, when the amount or value of property in dispute is less than $7,500.00, the matter is filed and heard in Small Claims Court. If the amount in dispute is more than $7,500.00, the matter is filed and heard in the Court of Common Pleas.

For Small claims contact the Magistrates Court at 803-283-3983.

General Sessions

Does the Clerk of Court have a schedule of criminal cases coming up for trial?
No, the scheduling of criminal cases is a function of the Solicitors Office.
How do I file a criminal case?

If you feel like you are the victim of a crime, you should contact the nearest police department in your area.

How do I get my criminal record expunged?
All questions regarding expungements should be directed to the 6th Circuit Solicitor's Office at (803) 416-9367.
If I deposit money in lieu of a bond with the Clerk of Court, will I get that money back?
When the conditions established for the underlying bond have been met, and the individual is released without further liability, an application for the return of the deposit may be made with the Clerk of Court.
What if I don't like the outcome of my General Sessions case? What if I want to appeal it?
Ended General Sessions cases are appealed to the Supreme Court of South Carolina.
What types of bail in lieu of bond are accepted by the Clerk of Courts Office?
Surety Bond:
  • Cash deposit of the amount set in lieu of a bond or a Cashier's Check.
  • A Bonding Company can also post the bail bond for you.
  • An individual can pledge property (land/house, mobile homes are not accepted) to the Clerk of Court as collateral for the bond. The property must be located in Lancaster County.

Cash Percentage in Lieu of Bonds:

  • If the bond order permits, a cash percentage of the full amount of bond may be posted with the Clerk of Court in the amount ordered by the court.
Property Bond:

  • An individual can pledge real estate (land/house, mobile homes are not accepted) to the Clerk of Court as collateral for the bond. The property must be located in Lancaster County.

Family Court

How can I get an increase or decrease in my child support?

If your case is through DSS, contact them regarding a review for an increase. If not, you will have to file a new case using Form SCCA431 and pay a $150 filing fee. If you have had a substantial change of circumstances and would like the court to consider reducing your obligation, you must file a new case and pay a $150 filing fee. In both cases, it is advisable to seek the advice of an attorney.

The following website may be helpful in modifying your child support: sccourts.org

When does child support end?
You may stop paying child support when you have a signed order from a family court judge ending your responsibility to pay child support. If your child has emancipated (ref SC Code Ann. § 63-3-530(17)), you must provide proof of emancipation such as a birth certificate, marriage license, graduation commencement program, etc.
How do I file for a name change for my child or myself?
In the case of a name change for a minor child, it is recommended that you consult an attorney. If the name change is for a Minor Child you MUST consult and attorney. If you choose to represent yourself, you will be held to the same standards as attorneys. You must follow and be knowledgeable of all the appropriate Rules of Court, statutes, and case law that apply to your case. All the requirements for a name change are found at SC Code Ann. § 15-49-10. You must file a case with the Family Court and pay a $150 filing fee. The following documents must be provided:
  • A petition for name change
  • The results of a fingerprint and criminal background check by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED).
  • A sworn statement or affidavit stating whether you are under an order to pay child support or alimony.
  • A screening statement from SLED stating whether you are on the sex offender registry.
  • A screening statement from DSS stating whether you are on the Central Registry of Child Abuse and Neglect.
How do I file for divorce, custody, visitation, modification of visitation, or adoption? Are the forms available at Family Court?
All of these types of actions can be a complex and difficult legal process, especially if they are contested. It is recommended that you talk with an attorney before taking any action. If you choose to represent yourself, you will be held to the same standards as attorneys. You must follow and be knowledgeable of all the appropriate Rules of Court, statutes, and case law that apply to your case. If you are filing for a simple divorce, the South Carolina Supreme Court has approved a "Self-Represented Litigant Simple Divorce Packet". This, and any other Court Administration approved forms, can be found at www.sccourts.org. Other resources for legal services are the South Carolina Bar's Lawyer Referral Service at 1-800-868-2284 and the South Carolina Legal Aid Telephone Intake Service at 1-888-346-5592.
What is the difference between and Order of Protection and a Restraining Order?
An order of protection may be issued in Family Court granting temporary alimony, child support, child custody, and possession of your home. The order may also order no contact between the parties. The purpose is to give the plaintiff time to initiate additional legal action, such as divorce or separation. A restraining order is issued by a Magistrate court judge against a non-family member for situations involving abuse, harassment, or stalking.

Security Information

What items are not allowed in the Courthouse?
In order to ensure accessibility and security in our building, we ask that you not bring the following items with you to the courthouse:
  • Cell Phones
  • Flash Drives
  • Ear Buds
  • Any Electronic Device
  • Pocket Books/Bags
  • Weapons of any kind
  • Items that can be used as a weapon
  • Pocket Knives
  • Nail Clippers or Files
  • Lighters
Upon entering the courthouse you will be screened by our security staff and searched if necessary.