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Cohabitation illegal in Florida?

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Our Miami Prenuptial Agreement Lawyers bring you their latest thoughts:

Are you cohabitating with your significant other in Florida? If so, you are breaking the law! At a time when many couples are choosing to live together before getting married or choosing to live together with no intention of ever getting married, it's difficult to imagine why such a seemingly antiquated law is still on the books in Florida. Read on to learn the status of one state Representative's quest to repeal this law.

According to Florida Statute § 798.02:

If any man and woman, not being married to each other, lewdly and lasciviously associate and cohabit together, or if any man or woman, married or unmarried, engages in open and gross lewdness and lascivious behavior, they shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree.

Last year, Florida state Representative Ritch Workman filed legislation to repeal this statute. However, state senate records show the bill died earlier this year in the Criminal Justice Subcommittee, leaving Florida cohabitating couples on the bad side of the law. According to 2010 U.S. Census figures, at least 544,907 Floridians report being an "unmarried partner" which means they live in an intimate relationship with someone to whom they are not married.

As social norms change, it's hard to imagine that this law will remain on the books, and you would be hard pressed to find an instance of a couple being prosecuted under this statute. Still, with the law as it is, cohabitating couples face the risk that they could be arrested. The question becomes, is it constitutional for the government to interfere in our private lives? It's an argument that can be made against prosecution if the government decided to enforce this law.

So what can you do to protect yourself while riding the waves of change? As the law currently stands, in the way of avoiding criminal penalties, there is not much you can do besides discontinuing your cohabitation. However, if you are cohabitating with the intention of getting married and are looking for a way to protect yourself from financial liability, a prenuptial agreement may be the answer. A prenuptial agreement can help you sort out before you get married what yours and your partner's expectations are for marriage and beyond. Preparation is the key!

Whether you have a lot of assets to protect or none at all, a consultation with our office can open your eyes to how a prenuptial agreement might specifically benefit you. Contact your Miami prenuptial agreement lawyer at Vari Law today.

Sources: Lawmaker pushes to repeal Florida law that makes cohabitation a crime and HB 4021: Adultery, Cohabitation, and Lewd and Lascivious Behavior

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