Family law resources and policies are established to aide parents and children alike as they deal with such issues as divorce settlements and visitation arrangements. In fact, Illinois families can benefit from numerous measures intended to address possible child custody disputes and other difficulties that can arise. Unfortunately though, it seems that there are instances where the very guidelines intended to protect families may only serve to hurt them.
Some parents may be familiar with morality clauses attached to many child custody agreements. These clauses typically outline behavior not tolerated by family courts, instructing parents on conduct that can compromise their custody rights. A morality clause may prohibit everything from having visitors of the opposite sex spend the night to having a romantic relationship without being married. And while such measures may be aimed at safeguarding children and family values, there is mounting evidence that morality clauses can be used to discriminate against parents.
Many responsible parents are actually not allowed to comply with morality clauses because they do not have the option of marrying their partner. Unless same-sex marriage is recognized by every state in the union, countless parents may continue to be at risk of losing their custody rights. Likewise, there have been instances where unscrupulous courts have used morality clauses to discriminate against gay and lesbian parents, implying that their sexual preference makes them unfit to have custody of their kids.
Similar tactics have been used against straight parents too. Just last year, an appeals court decided that it is reasonable to base a custody ruling on factors like a parent’s romantic relationships even when they do not affect the child.
Obtaining legal counsel can help guarantee no parent loses their custody rights to discriminatory morality clause policies.
Source: salon.com, “Judge tells lesbian couple to separate—or lose kids,” Irin Carmon, May 23, 2013