Is it Really Illegal for Unmarried Men and Women to Live Together in Michigan?
Living together. Cohabitating. Shacking up. No matter how you choose to articulate it, a lot of couples do it. But is it against the law in Michigan?
By the Numbers
Obviously, living together does not always lead to marriage. It's estimated that just over half of all couples who make the decision to move in together go on to get married within five years. Roughly 40 percent split up and about 10 percent continue to live together beyond the five-year mark without getting married.
In a national study of about 1,300 people in opposite-sex marriages, between 70 and 75 percent of those couples say they lived together before tying the knot.
Taking a Test Drive Doesn't Always Tell the Tale
According to Love to Know, the majority of couples who moved in together before saying "I do," say "It just happened," as opposed to making a conscious decision to combine households.
Those couples who said they just 'slid' into living together reported lower levels of marital satisfaction after they said their nuptials.
Breaking it down further, 43 percent of couples who lived together before getting engaged reported lower marital satisfaction and were more likely to end up divorced. Of those couples who moved in together after they were engaged, just 16 percent reported the same findings.
So is it Illegal in the Mitten State?
Technically, shacking up is prohibited by Michigan law. On the books since 1931, an obscure law here in Michigan makes it a misdemeanor for unmarried couples to cohabitate.
Section 750.335 of the Michigan Penal Code says "Any man or woman, not being married to each other, who lewdly and lasciviously associates and cohabits together, and any man or woman, married or unmarried, who is guilty of open and gross lewdness and lascivious behavior, is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than 1 year, or a fine of not more than $1,000.00."
This law, known as a zombie law, is rarely enforced.
A Move to Make it Legal
Earlier this month, the Michigan State Senate voted to approve Senate Bill 56, which aims to repeal the archaic law. The bill will now have to be approved by the State House.