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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    South Carolina
    Posts
    21

    Default Morals Clause

    A situation I have here is an ex live in for several years did not work out. She was moved out & in her efforts to get back together she became pregnant with my child. A temporary hearing was made to establish certain guidelines until a final hearing can take place. She has been very difficult to deal with before this hearing, saying my child went to the Dr & in fact he did not as to deny visitation, denying regular visitation as agreed upon, the list goes on. She was reprimanded by the judge, restraining orders & such. However at this temporay hearing she instructed her attorney to request a "morals clause", which was granted & to add insult to injury, I have a roommate who is single & CAN have overnight visits while I have my child but I cannot.

    This does not sit well with me AT ALL. We were never married, we were not living together at the time of conception or birth or presently & never will be. Ther are no other children involved. I have presently moved on & this clause REALLY puts a strain on my current situation. It is absolutely a case where "if I can't be there then no one else will either"

    I understand that this is not SC law. What argument can be presented to persuade a judge not to impose this restriction & if the restriction is imposed then what if anything can be done to get around this clause.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    28,906

    Default Morals Clause

    South Carolina case law suggests that any "morals clause" must follow, at a minimum, from a judicial finding that the presence of a girlfriend would adversely affect the welfare of the child:
    Quote Quoting Scott v Scott, 354 S.C. 118;579 S.E.2d 620 (2003)
    RESTRAINING ORDER ON OVERNIGHT GUESTS

    Father takes issue with the following provision in the divorce decree:

    IT IS FURTHER ORDERED, ADJUDGED AND DECREED that all parties be, and are hereby, enjoined and restrained from having contact with a member of the opposite sex not related by blood or marriage in the presence of either child from the hours of 10:00 p.m. until 8:00 a.m. This injunction and restriction applies to any structure or open area where the children and the party will sleep in close proximity to each other.

    Father argues that this restriction is overly broad and unreasonable. For example, he contends that if read literally, Caitlyn would not be allowed to have any girlfriends sleep over when Father has custody of Caitlyn. We agree.

    The Court of Appeals struck down a similar provision in Jackson v. Jackson, 279 S.C. 618, 310 S.E.2d 827 (Ct. App. 1983). In that case, the father was allowed to have his son visit only if the child was "not exposed to persons not related to [the father] by blood or marriage." The Jackson court explained as follows:

    This restriction was intended to prevent the child from visiting in the presence of [the father's] live-in girlfriend. The restriction is overly broad and unreasonable as there was no finding that the presence of [the girlfriend] would adversely affect the welfare of the child. ... Even if this finding had been made, the restriction is overly broad in carrying out its intended purpose. Carried to its logical extreme, it would prevent the child from entertaining his own friends at his father's home.

    Id. at 622, 310 S.E.2d at 829 (citation omitted).

    The restriction in this case likewise is overly broad and therefore is reversed. Id.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    South Carolina
    Posts
    21

    Default

    Thanks Arron, atta boy!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    South Carolina
    Posts
    21

    Default

    Aaron, what is the definition of "judicial findings"?? Can these findings be heresay, speculation or just plain accusations or do they have to be substantiated by some sort of record, report or discovery??

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    28,906

    Default Judicial Findings

    A judicial finding is a finding by the judge. It should be premised upon competent evidence.

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