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2 Bumps

Morality clauses in 2013

I read this article in a few locations and thought it might be an interesting starting point for discussion

In a nutshell, a lesbian woman with children has been ordered by a Texas court to move out of the home that she shares with her partner of three years.  The biological father is involved but I'm not clear on whether he brought the case to court or some other circumstance did.  

The thing I find interesting is that the judge who has given her 30 days to move out of her home placed the Morality Clause in the divorce decree himself in 2011.  It was not in the original decree, nor was the woman in question notified that this had occurred.  

And it's perfectly legal.  The judge states, without hesitation, that he did so because he disapproves of "her lifestyle"

My questions are these:  Is there a place for morality clauses in divorce decrees in this century?  If there are, can this stipulation be applied across the board and fairly (including heterosexual couples who live together without benefit of marriage) and, second, would you consider a judge taking this unilateral action to be an "activist" judge?

Answer Question

Asked by Mrs_Prissy at 12:39 PM on May. 18, 2013 in Politics & Current Events

Level 34 (65,487 Credits)
Answers (12)
  • I'm glad that is finally getting more coverage. I posted about a week or so ago when it first happened, and it was only on fb at that point.

    And no, morality clauses have no place in a divorce decree, no more than that asshole judge in Indy had the right to take away custody from a non-Christian couple for being non-Christian (he was overturned - the idiot in Texas NEEDS to be overturned)

    This is activist judiciary at its worst.

    Answer by NotPanicking at 12:42 PM on May. 18, 2013

  • Time constraints have prevented me from being as well informed as I used to be so this was the first I'd seen it.

    I will admit to being fairly "shock proof" over clear discrimination against the LGBT community but the addition of the morality clause without notification was an eye opener. I had no idea

    Comment by Mrs_Prissy (original poster) at 12:52 PM on May. 18, 2013

  • My divorce decree had a "morality clause" for the first 6 months after separating house holds: no member of the opposite sex staying past 9 pm when the children are around. My ex insisted upon it (I think he thought it would hurt me somehow, even though he's the one who rushed into another relationship, not me). Anyhoo, I didn't fight it because I didn't care.

    But, it's completely intrusive and prejudice (and should be illegal) for this to be occurring years after the divorce. She needs an ACLU attorney stat.

    Answer by 3libras at 1:06 PM on May. 18, 2013

  • This is a clear case of a judge abusing his judicial power to make someone suffer for a lifestyle he doesn't approve of. I hope he loses his position on the bench over it.

    Answer by Ballad at 3:08 PM on May. 18, 2013

  • ". I hope he loses his position on the bench over it."

    Why would he though? It's perfectly legal

    Comment by Mrs_Prissy (original poster) at 3:14 PM on May. 18, 2013

  • The fact that he added it and she wasn't even informed is so much utter bullshit. That shouldn't be legal at all. If a morality clause is agreed upon by both the people involved in the divorce, sure go for it. But for this judge to do this after they had been together for years is pure crap.

    Answer by kmath at 3:51 PM on May. 18, 2013

  • I can understand having agreements like that, preventing both spouses from having romantic partners (of any gender) staying over - sometimes people do need that (my ex would be a perfect example, he'll willingly screw just about anything that breathes, anytime, anywhere. lol). So in cases where someone can show that they're requesting it for something like that, I can see it as being acceptable.

    But for a judge to include that simply because *he* disapproves of her lifestyle? Hell, no! You don't get to use your power over other people's lives like that. You have to be fair and legal. This might technically be legal, but it's not fair and it sure as hell isn't appropriate.

    Answer by wendythewriter at 3:56 PM on May. 18, 2013

  • This is absolutely wrong. How is this legal? Can she get another judge to over rule this?


    Answer by musicmaker at 2:47 AM on May. 19, 2013

  • Can she get another judge to over rule this?

    In Texas? Doubt she'd even find a judge who would. This is going to have to go to the SCOTUS, and if it does, Texas may very well be screwed.

    Answer by NotPanicking at 9:23 PM on May. 19, 2013

  • Well this is an interesting situation.
    I personally feel that divorce decrees are a legally binding agreement, that both parties enter into and agree to the terms.
    IF they agreed to a morality clause of any kind, it should be binding until they bring it back to court to change.
    IF you have a case of there being some new law that say makes it illegal for either party to live with someone else (other than parents) for 2 years after the divorce and they make the law retroactive, I would think it should be mandated that every party affected must be notified writing X number of days by the court.
    I personally feel that it is illegal or should be, for a judge to charge a legal document any time he wants and certainly without notifying the parties involved. No matter whether it is a morality clause or another issue.
    I personally think the clause would be fine IF both parties were not allowed to shack up with anyone. Equally.

    Answer by Dardenella at 11:42 PM on May. 19, 2013

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