Unmarried and living together? You’re no longer breaking the law

On behalf of Furr & Cohen, P.A. posted in Unmarried Couples on Thursday, April 14, 2016.

Over the years, it has become less and less unusual for two people to move in together without being married. In fact, many people are choosing to build their lives with someone else without having any plans to ever get married.

However, did you know that in the state of Florida, it was actually illegal for two unwed people to cohabitate for nearly the last 150 years? If you are part of an unwed couple, you can breathe a sigh of relief today, as that law was finally repealed by Gov. Rick Scott.

Violations of co-habitation laws were rarely enforced, but the fact that the law was still on the books and made it possible to charge people with a misdemeanor should be a reminder of the obstacles and complications unmarried couples still face today.

Marriage can provide critical protections for two people in terms of estate planning, medical decisions, property transfers, government benefits and parental rights. However, it is no secret that marriage is very difficult and roughly half of all of them ultimately end in divorce.

For these and many other reasons, two people may decide against getting married in favor of arrangements including co-habitation. While there is certainly nothing wrong with this, it can leave a couple exposed to some unfortunate situations, especially in cases involving unmarried parents. Although that no longer includes the potential for a jail sentence thanks to the repealed law, there are other ramifications that should be considered.

If you are part of an unmarried couple and have questions about your rights, legal options and the protections you may or may not have access to, it can be crucial that you discuss them with an attorney sooner, rather than later.

Source: The Week, “Until today, unmarried couples were legally barred from living together in Florida” April 7, 2016