Morality clause in custody

Depending on the circumstances surrounding your divorce, you may be worried about your ex rushing into introducing your child to their new significant other. While this situation can cause hurt feelings and anger on your part, it can also be confusing and frustrating to your child. If you are concerned about the possibility of your child seeing their other parent in a new relationship role too soon, you may opt for a morality clause in your custody agreement.

A morality clause is exactly what it sounds like; a provision in your custody agreement that describes certain behavior that you and your ex are to avoid. The clause goes both ways, meaning you may have been the one to ask that it be added to your custody agreement, but you and your ex both abide by it. The typical morality clause of a custody agreement usually prohibits you and your ex from allowing a significant other, to whom you are not married, from staying overnight with you at your residence while your children are present.

While this type of provision sounds great to many divorcing couples with children, they can be difficult to enforce. The main problem in enforcing them is proving your ex went against the clause in the first place. This may mean involving your child in a contempt hearing and could actually be worse for them than the overnight was. In any case, a family court judge will need to see that the violation caused some type of harm to your child, whether physical, emotional or mental.

Custody agreements are not the only contracts to include this type of clause. Professional athletes and some employees are subject to the provisions in a morality clause. If you have concerns about your child’s well-being in the wake of your divorce, speaking to a trusted divorce attorney may help.

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