Divorce Morality Clause: What it Means
During a divorce action you sometimes hear the term “morality clause”. What this basically refers to is not allowing a person to have a person with whom they are in a romantic or dating relationship present in the house when the children are there, or present with the children between certain hours such as between 9:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m. In other words, no “sleepovers.”
Judges generally do not like one parent exposing the children to a girlfriend or boyfriend while the parent is still married to the other parent. Frequently, the judges don’t even want the “special friend” to be around the children at all and sometimes will prohibit that.
Not only do the judges consider it to be a morality issue, but they also want the parents concentrating on what is best for the children during the divorce rather than paying attention to a third person.
You rarely find these provisions present in the final decree of divorce. The judges recognize that they cannot manage the relationships after the divorce and they don’t want to give the parent an incentive to rush into marriage just to escape this prohibition.
If you have a “special friend” during the divorce, discuss that with your attorney and take the attorney’s advice. There is every chance that the attorney will tell you to put the relationship on ice pending the divorce. Even though you are separated, a sexual relationship with a person not your spouse is still adultery and that is something that the judge can take into account when deciding such matters as the appropriate division of property, custody of the children and possession of the children. You will probably not like what you are told, but it is good advice.
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