Disputes over parenting issues can both lead to divorce and make settling a divorce more difficult. An issue that often arises between divorcing parents is a difference in opinion about appropriate behavior around the children.
When this happens, one or both parents may want to include a morality clause in the divorce agreement.
What is a morality clause?
A morality clause specifies what each parent can and cannot do in the presence of the couple’s children. The purpose of a morality clause is to prevent parents from engaging in behavior that may harm their children.
When does a morality clause take effect?
A morality clause may take effect during separation or divorce or after the divorce is final. In most states, morality clauses are optional. However, some Texas counties automatically apply a morality clause for the duration of the divorce proceedings.
What does a morality clause restrict?
Morality clauses can vary depending on where you live, but most commonly they restrict the ability of either parent from having a romantic partner spend the night or live in their home when the children are present unless the parent is legally married. Some morality clauses also prohibit parents from going on vacations or trips with a romantic partner or using drugs, alcohol or cigarettes when the children are present.
How does the state enforce morality clauses?
If one of the parents believes the other is violating the terms of the morality clause, that person can file a court case to attempt to enforce the terms of the clause.
Morality clauses can provide a means to protect children from potentially harmful behavior or exposure to dangerous people. However, they may be difficult to enforce.