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Divorcees can now be ‘unmarried’ in civil register

16:27 20/03/2019

People who are divorced or widowed will soon be able to change their civil status to ‘unmarried’. Previously they were listed in the population register specifically as ‘divorced’ or ‘widowed’.

The federal house interior affairs committee approved the proposal in order to give people a choice of how they wanted to be referred to. Often after many years, people don’t want to think of themselves as divorced or as widowed but simply as not married.

In the event of another marriage, for example, “the civil servant has to read out that he or she was ‘previously divorced’,” explained MP Carina Van Cauter (Open Vld). “That can be confronting and stigmatising.”

She emphasises that people don’t have to make the change in their civil status if they don’t want to. “They have a choice. They can remove the term ‘divorced’ if they want to and start with a clean slate. But people who are widowed might be more inclined to keep their status. It’s up to them.”

Photo: Getty Images

Written by Lisa Bradshaw



This is an important human rights issue. Marriage or divorce should never be the determining factors for a person's life. It is some kind of labelling. In many constitutions, these are the remnants of old times. I congratulate the Federal House for this decision.

Mar 20, 2019 18:05

This is nothing to do with human rights, it is people trying to change history again!!! It is not a label, it is what happened to you previously in life and made you what you are now. You cannot change that however you might wish it!

Mar 21, 2019 10:14

However, you can choose to present yourself irrelevant of your civil status.

Mar 25, 2019 09:26