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Morality clause added to divorce decree for Texas mother

A Texas woman filed for divorce from her husband of 11 years in Sept. 2010. The couple had two children together during their marriage, and it appears that the mother was awarded custody of both of the little girls.

The mother is now in a committed long-term relationship with another woman that lives with her and her two children. However, the woman’s ex-husband and father of her children asked that the morality clause be enforced in this case.

A morality clause is not unusual in a divorce in Texas, and stipulates that a divorced parent is not to have a boyfriend or girlfriend stay the night when the children are in the home. This is typical of pending divorces, but in this particular case where the mother is now in a same-sex relationship, the clause was added to the divorce decree.

Marriage can end the legal binding prohibiting a romantic partner from spending the night, but same-sex marriage is not legal in Texas. The women feel that this is burdensome and unconstitutional and that “regardless of their sexual orientation, that takes away and unreasonably limits their ability to make parental decisions of whom their children may be around and unreasonably limits what the United State Supreme Court has identified as the liberty of thought, belief and expression.”

While the women say that this clause is disruptive to their lives, they will not violate the clause and the girlfriend will move out within 30 days. They are considering an appeal. Same-sex couples in Texas can often face complex child custody and family law issues. In many instances, these issues require the assistance of an attorney.

Source: ABC news, “Texas Judge: Lesbian Couple Can't Cohabitate,” Associated Press, May 22, 2013

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