New bill would make name changes gender neutral for divorces | Michigan Radio
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New bill would make name changes gender neutral for divorces

Jul 4, 2019

Credit Olly / Adobe Stock

Some lawmakers in Lansing say the state’s divorce statute is “archaic” and needs an update.

A new bill introduced in the state House would allow anyone to change their name back after a divorce using the judgment of divorce. It essentially makes that part of the statute gender neutral. Right now, the act specifies “divorced women.”

State representative Robert Wittenberg (D-Huntington Woods) is a bill sponsor. He says the current process for someone who isn’t a woman to change their name is too complicated.

“Now you can change your name, but you have to jump through a lot of hoops to be able to do it. And we have it on the books, currently, with the divorce statute, but it’s archaic,” says Wittenberg.

He says this is about making the name change process simple for everyone.

“If this is someone who’s going through divorce, we want to make the change as seamless and easy for them as possible so they can go on living and have their own independence,” he says.

Wittenberg’s bill would make the name change portion of the divorce statute gender neutral. That would allow not only men in heterosexual couples to change their names, but people in same-sex couples as well.

The bill is waiting for a committee hearing.