Will A Declaration Of Informal Marriage Overturn A Morality Clause?

Question:divorce lawyer Erin Clark

My ex-wife put a morality clause in our divorce agreement specifying that I am not allowed to have a girlfriend around our children.

My girlfriend and I are serious but not ready for marriage.

So if I file a “declaration of informal marriage” at the court clerk’s office, will this overrule the morality clause?


A “morality clause” is usually included in a divorce decree to prevent the child(ren) from being exposed to their parents’ intimate dating lives and also because Texas courts favor good moral behavior around children.

A morality clause is enforceable as it relates to custody or visitation, but may be circumvented upon re-marriage.

Thus, if you and your significant other wish to be common law married, there are three requirements: (1) you must live together; (2) you must agree to be married; and (3) you must hold yourselves out (to the public) as being married.

I recommend seeking further legal advice as the information provided is only general in nature. Cordell & Cordell has attorneys licensed and located nationwide who can provide a more in-depth analysis of your current situation.

To schedule an appointment with Erin E. Clark, an Associate Attorney in the Fort Worth, Texas office, please contact Cordell & Cordell.

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2 comments on “Will A Declaration Of Informal Marriage Overturn A Morality Clause?

    Wondering how this held up. Does filing an informal marriage at the county clerks office overrule a morality clause in Texas?

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