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Committed couple cannot live together under divorce morality clause

A committed same-sex couple cannot live together any longer under a morality clause in one of the women’s divorce decrees. A state judge recently ordered the couple to cease cohabitating because one of the women has a child custody agreement that is bound by a morality clause.

The clause is automatically included in divorces in the county where the divorce took place and it dictates that parents may not have overnight guests who are not related by blood or marriage after 9pm when their children are present in the home. The clause is meant to protect children from too much exposure to their parent’s dating, but in this case is having additional consequences since the same-sex couple cannot legally be married in their state.

The women said that they are planning to comply with the court order in order to maintain the child custody agreement between the former spouses in which the teen children are able to live at their mother’s home.

In order to overcome the morality clause and the court order, the legislature would have to legalize same-sex marriage so that the women could wed and the partner would no longer be considered an overnight guest. Otherwise a court would have to deem these types of clauses to be ilegally discriminatory.

The two have been living togehter and coparenting the children for three years. They say that the children’s father is not particularly involved in their lives, exercising his right to custody only a dozen times over the past three years even though he has custody every other weekend.

Source: Courthouse News Service, “Judge Forbids Lesbian Woman From Living with Partner,” David Lee, May 23, 2013.

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