What Is a Divorce Morality Clause?


If you are seeking a Pasadena divorce, it's important to make sure that you understand all of the language in your divorce decree. Some clauses, such as a divorce morality clause, can affect your life for many years to come.

A morality clause is language in a divorce decree that places restrictions upon new romantic relationships. Morality clauses are normally used as a way to protect young children from the negative effects of a parade of Mom or Dad's new romantic partners.

Morality clauses are automatically added to divorce papers in some parts of the United States, but must be requested by one or both spouses in other areas. Either parent can request a morality clause in the divorce, but the clause will apply to both parents equally once it is added into the divorce decree.

The most common type of morality clause states that the ex-spouse can't allow a new romantic partner to move into his or her home. However, some clauses are so restrictive that they prevent new romantic partners from even dropping by for a visit when the children from the marriage are present.

Morality clauses recently made headlines because of a case involving a lesbian couple in Texas. Carolyn Compton had a morality clause in her 2011 divorce papers. Her ex-husband, Joshua Compton, went to court to ask that the morality clause be enforced and that her partner Page Price be forced to vacate the home she and Ms. Compton shared with the Compton's two young daughters.

The judge's decision to enforce the morality clause has been controversial within the gay rights community. While a man and woman can get married to avoid being penalized by a morality clause, gay marriage is not legal in Texas. The morality clause in the Compton's divorce papers also has no expiration date, which is problematic because it essentially means that Ms. Compton will never be legally allowed to cohabit with Ms. Price.

How Can We Help?

If you have questions about the impact of a morality clause in your divorce proceeding, please call our office at (626) 683-8113 or email us at info@PasadenaLawOffice.com. Our team of skilled Pasadena family law lawyers can provide assistance regarding a wide range of divorce-related issues.