Wittenberg Bill Establishes Equality in State Divorce Law

Legislation would make divorce law gender neutral
Thursday, June 27, 2019

LANSING — Today, state Rep. Robert Wittenberg (D-Huntington Woods) introduced House Bill 4794 to modernize the state’s divorce law and make the process for changing one’s last name after a divorce gender neutral. While current statute allows divorced women to change their name following final judgement of divorce, the law fails to address men who may have taken their wife’s name, changed their name altogether, or same-sex couples.

“For individuals going through divorce, regaining their pre-marital name is a vital step to reestablishing their independence and moving forward in life,” Wittenberg said. “With an evolved marital landscape, it is time that we modernize our divorce law to account for these changes and ensure that every person going through a divorce has the opportunity to reclaim their identity.”

While a separate name-change process exists for individuals who are not mentioned in current divorce law, the process entails additional filings, fees, and one year of established residency.

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