When a couple with children divorces, there are often strong opinions about how new relationships will be handled around the children in the future. One spouse might be concerned over whether or not a boyfriend or girlfriend will discipline the child, whether the child will become attached to someone who leaves or even what life lessons are being taught by a non-parent.
Child custody agreements may include restrictions or situational requirements for new relationships. Although the agreement concerns personal situations, it is still important to remember that these are legally enforceable documents that can have a big impact on a parent and child’s life. Take a recent case from Texas as a unique example.
In this case, the divorce papers included a morality clause concerning future relationships. At least one of the spouses had concern over the couple’s children observing mommy or daddy with an overnight guest. It restricted either spouse from cohabitating with another individual while the children were in the home.
This is an extremely common clause, but what gave this mom a unique challenge was the fact that she had entered into a lesbian partnership after the divorce. When the mom moved in with her partner, the father raised the issue with the court. The judge ruled that the partners could not live in the same house with the children.
Same-sex relationships present unique challenges in family law situations. What if the couple had gotten married in Minnesota? Texas currently does not honor same-sex marriage, would the court have said that an out-of-state marriage doesn’t alter the result?
These are the types of questions that those in a similar situation can ask a Texas attorney that handles child custody situations.
Source: International Business Times, “Lesbian Couple Can’t Cohabitate In Texas, Judge Cites Morality Clause In Divorce Papers That Forbids Unmarried Partners to Live Together,” Zoe Mintz, May 22, 2013