Morality Clause trouble

Discussion in 'Other Family Law Matters' started by tourguidebarbi, Jun 9, 2009.

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  1. tourguidebarbi

    tourguidebarbi New Member

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    My exhusband put a morality clause in our divorce decree. We were divorced 2 1/2 years ago, and this clause had no time limit or a way to remove it. My boyfriend and I have decided to get married in the next year, and in the meantime want to move in together. I filed a motion to have this removed - I've spent over $2,000 so far. Long story short, the court will not remove it. Our moving in together will not be harmful to my child who I have shared custody of, as a matter of fact it will be beneficial to him since we will be able to move out of a bad part of town and into a bigger place where he will have his own room. My son and my boyfriend are very close and he takes very good care of us. No criminal backgrounds or anything like that.. Just someone enforcing their morality on us. It is not illegal in the state of Kansas for two people to live together, with our without children, so how do I fight this? And exactly how enforceable is this? We were so confident that there was no way that they could tell us that we couldn't live together that we have already signed a lease. So now, I'm either stuck with an apartment that I can't afford or some sort of legal consequence. I need help!!
     
  2. Duranie

    Duranie Moderator

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    You agreed to it, you are pretty much stuck to it. If Dad takes you to court over it, you'll have issues. Personally if I were you, go get married in a quickie ceremony. That would put this to rest.
     
  3. tourguidebarbi

    tourguidebarbi New Member

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    First of all, I didn't agree to it. I was forced to sign it if I ever wanted out of my marriage. I did not have money for representation at the time and was bullied by my ex and his attorney.

    Second of all, I refuse to get married on someone else's terms other than my own. Plus, we have plans to make that day a special one and we need time to save for it. I'm not going to ruin that by running down to the courthouse and doing an extremely impersonal ceremony.
     
  4. BayState

    BayState Moderator

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    Then plan on your ex getting custody. Your choice.
     
  5. Duranie

    Duranie Moderator

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    You did sign it and its too late to say you were forced or signed it under duress. You seem to have few options. Marry him, or don't move in together, or give custody to your ex. Pretty simple. I am not sure what else we can tell you.
     
  6. Gail_in_Georgia

    Gail_in_Georgia Moderator

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    Personally, I think the morality clause is great. My ex-husband and I wrote the same clause in our divorce decree; no live-in boyfriends/girlfriends while our children had not yet reached adult age. Too many children of divorced parents have to be treated to a rotating number of partners shacking up with their parents.

    Again, you signed this divorce decree; thus, legally, you agreed to it.

    gail
     
  7. tourguidebarbi

    tourguidebarbi New Member

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    So, can you tell me why it is too late for that? Is there a statute of limitations? I just wonder, because it has taken me this long just to save up to finally hire an attorney.. I had no idea I was under a time limit. I also thought that divorce decrees were renegotiable when you have life changes.
     
  8. BayState

    BayState Moderator

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    So you think a Judge will modify this court ORDER because you have now hooked up with a guy?? :confused:

    Choose:

    Custody of your child/ren.

    Shacking up with your boyfriend.
     
  9. Green_Hornet

    Green_Hornet New Member

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    What does your Divorce Decree say is supposed to happen if you move in with your fiance? If it says you give up residential custody, then you have an uphill battle to overturn the provision you approved. If the Decree doesn't specify what is to happen, then the court will decide what is in the child's best interest. Consult your family law attorney.

    You can instruct your attorney as to your disagreement for the morality clause. There is no requirement under statute that a divorced parent cannot live with a new partner prior to a wedding. If your spouse will not agree to this condition the judge will have to decide for you.

    The "morality" of cohabitation has in rare occasions been used against a parent in custody.
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2009
  10. irish223

    irish223 Moderator

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    According to her first post, she has spent $2000 and has already been denied once in her motion to change the terms of the order.

    There really isn't much more she can do.
     
  11. Green_Hornet

    Green_Hornet New Member

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    Yea but she wants the whole clause removed, instead of just modified. Poster what are the terms of the clause? This sounds like something that can be worked out through the ex-husband and her attorney to me.
     
  12. BayState

    BayState Moderator

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    "Removing a clause" would be a modification. OP has taken this to court. She lost. If her ex was willing to "work it out" then she would never have had to go to court.
     
  13. tourguidebarbi

    tourguidebarbi New Member

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    I would hardly say 'hooked up with a guy'. I'm in a long term serious relationship. We've been together for two years. I came here looking for some advice.. if there is nothing I can do about it, then there's nothing I can do. I would never choose a man over my child. Be nice, please. :)
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2009
  14. tourguidebarbi

    tourguidebarbi New Member

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    The terms are simply no overnight visits of the opposite sex. There is nothing stating that I will lose custody (or any other consequence) if I violate. And I have not had a hearing yet. This is just the mediator's recommendation to the judge - a recommendation that he made without even discussing my personal situation with me. In talking to my lawyer about it, he said that I can try to fight it in a hearing, but this is Kansas.. and judges are conservative here. This is where I'm having a problem. In other states, these clauses seem to be removeable or unenforceable unless there is a problem. There is no problem in my home - us moving in together will be extremely beneficial to my son. So what I'm asking, is where do I go from here? I do not like the idea of this being enforced upon me simply because of how a judge feels about it. It's not illegal - heck, Kansas even recognizes Common Law marriages. So why would I be forced into marriage? When you start forcing people into marriages, you are gonna end up with more divorces..
     
  15. irish223

    irish223 Moderator

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    Rarely, if ever, are the consequences of contempt of the order spelled out in the order.
    I suppose that there is always a POSSIBILITY of modification of any divorce agreement that doesn't specifically prohibit it, but I doubt that it's commonplace in any states to change terms such as yours.
    You can ask your lawyer to prove to the judge that the change is in your child's best interests, and hope for the best.
    And that last sentence just negates all your other points. If you aren't sure enough of your commitment to each other to get married, then why is it in the best interests of your child to become part of a family unit whose stability is questionable? Please note that I am not questioning your commitment or your reasons for not marrying, but am presenting a question that will surely be asked if you use that argument.

    BTW, have you notified the father, by registered mail, of your intent to move. I believe that's a legal requirement in your state.
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2009
  16. Duranie

    Duranie Moderator

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    Moving in is not necessarily in your childs best interest, but in yours. Again if you insist on going against the decree then that is a choice you are going to have to make. You just cannot change decrees without the other party agreeing or the courts awarding you it. How would you like it if your ex took you to court, say for full custody without going through the proper channels, and just wants custody just because. It is the same thing. This is the whole point of agreements. If you do not want to get married then that tells me you are not serious with this guy anyways and yes you are just shacking up until you get married and hoping a breakup does not occur.

    It is clear you are going to do your own thing so I am not sure why you are posting on here anyways.
     
  17. tourguidebarbi

    tourguidebarbi New Member

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  18. tourguidebarbi

    tourguidebarbi New Member

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    Apparently most people on here are seriously misunderstanding me.

    I WILL NOT GO AGAINST THIS IF I CAN'T GET IT REMOVED. I'M NOT STUPID. I WILL NOT PUT CUSTODY OF MY SON IN JEOPARDY. I'M SIMPLY ASKING QUESTIONS, SO STOP ATTACKING MY CHARACTER, PLEASE.

    And exactly how do YOU know what is in MY child's best interests when you have never met us? I put up with my ex-husband's ridiculous accusations about my parenting abilities on a daily basis (which, believe me, the mediator saw through that quickly - I am a great mother to my son), so I don't need it from strangers. I understand that some people don't agree with 2 people living together before marriage, but this brings me back to my original point - that's just your opinion, not everyone's. And has nothing to do with what is legal or illagal.

    I will see what I can do about talking to the judge about this. Hopefully he will understand that it would be better to get my son out of a neighborhood where he can accidentally be shot by drug dealers, even though not everyone agrees with that.. (the neighborhood was not like this 2 years ago, so don't chastise me for moving there.) If we have to stay, then we have to stay.

    About the getting married part.. I've already clarified that.
     
  19. Green_Hornet

    Green_Hornet New Member

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    Here is a question before you married your ex- husband did you both share the domicile? If so it would be difficult for him to all the sudden claim that type of living arrangement immoral. He could argue (or his attorney) that there were no children involved, and it led to the eventual dissolution of the marriage.

    Also what is the mediators recommendation? I am not really clear on that point.

    There is no law per se on cohabitation, there is a wealth of law on what is in the best interest of the children. You present a very stable, loving, good picture of life for the child. He would present a picture of 'immorality'. Clearly the case would depend upon who was more persuasive, and if the the judge agreed with him on the morality of cohabitation. Well then...it would be difficult to predict the outcome of the hearing.
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2009
  20. Gail_in_Georgia

    Gail_in_Georgia Moderator

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    Actually most folks here have a very clear understanding of you.

    You agreed to something in your divorce decree, signed it and now that things have changed and you've found a new boyfriend you'd like to live with, don't like this clause about not being able to live together without the benefit of being married.

    There's nothing in your divorce decree that says you can't move to a safer neighborhood.

    Gail
     
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