Cohabitation, or the act of an unmarried couple living together, has become a prevalent social trend over the last 40 years. In fact, today, cohabitation has become a precursor to marriage. Many people decided to “test the waters” before marriage, and cohabitation is probably the most frequent method of doing so. In some ways, the saying that “you do not really know someone until you live with them” rings more true now than ever. But, in Mississippi, there are both criminal and civil legal effects of cohabitation that everyone should be aware of.
It goes without saying, but Mississippi–being positioned in the Bible Belt of the United States–maintains a strong moral code and promotes family values. And believe it or not, cohabiting with another person is technically illegal in Mississippi. But fear not, the Mississippi Supreme Court has recognized that the anti-cohabitation statute is ignored with great frequency and criminal cohabitation virtually goes unpunished today. Davis v. Davis, 643 So. 2d 931, 935 (Miss.1994). Nevertheless, cohabitation is still considered a “crime against public morals and decency.” Id.