Monday, October 17, 2011

Non-Monogamous Families and the Law, Part 9: Summary of Florida Laws

Author's Note:

I apologize for not having this posted over the weekend, the DC conference took a lot out of me. I did do the actual work, I just didn't post it on the blog. Georgia's will be following momentarily.

-------------------------

Non-Monogamous Families and the Law, Part 9: Summary of Florida Laws

Adultery:

Florida's Adultery laws are rather broad-base, and provide liability for families that possess no legal marriage. This is done through Florida's law against "lewd and lascivious" behavior amongst co-habiting individuals (Florida State Legislature, 2011f). Due to the ambiguous way in which it is written, the lewd and lascivious behavior law could extend to couples who are living together but not married, regardless of non-monogamous behavior. For the purposes of this paper, the assumption is that the lewd and lascivious law will make all individuals liable who co-habit and have sexual relations.

For non-monogamous families that do have a legal marriage, but only possess a dyadic structure (swingers & open relationships) without any co-habitation with outside partners, the liability is, again, somewhat ambiguous, as it depends on the interpretation of 'open adultery', as specified in Florida's law (Florida State Legislature, 2011e). In the context of non-monogamists, this could be interpreted as the public acknowledgement of the lifestyle, which may (depending on how open about their lifestyle the non-monogamous family is) or may not extend adultery liability to the family. Again, for the purposes of this paper, the worst-case assumption is made in that 'open' refers to the couple acknowledging non-monogamous behavior, thus extending liability in the same way as traditional adultery laws.

In the case of non-dyadic families (polyamorous & polyfidelitous) the liability is enhanced due to the lewd and lascivious law, which extends adultery-level liability to all non-married and cohabiting members of a family (and any outside-family partners who are cohabiting). If there is a legal marriage within the family, this does not exempt the family from liability, but simply makes sexual interactions between the two married individuals legal. Any sexual activity within a cohabitation outside of the legal marriage is considered adultery and lewd & lascivious behavior (Florida State Legislature, 2011e; Florida State Legislature, 2011f).

It should be noted that the Adultery laws don't factor for cohabitation, however the lewd and lascivious behavior laws do. To be applicable outside of a cohabitation situation there MUST be a legal marriage (Florida State Legislature, 2011e), and to be applicable regardless of a legal marriage, there MUST be cohabitation involved (Florida State Legislature, 2011f).

Both adultery and lewd & lascivious behavior are considered a second degree misdemeanor (Florida State Legislature, 2011e; Florida State Legislature, 2011f), punishable by up to 60 days imprisonment (Florida State Legislature, 2011a) and a fine of up to $500 (Florida State Legislature, 2011b). There are no escalating punishments for repeat offenders of a misdemeanor, and though Florida does contain the usual attempt, solicitation and conspiracy laws (Florida State Legislature, 2011d), Florida laws appear to only extend incohate offences to felony charges.

Bigamy:

Florida Bigamy laws don't have a purportation clause, and thus only look at the legal marriage status of the involved parties (Florida State Legislature, 2011g). This makes liability for polyamorists and polyfidelitists dramatically lower under these laws. The bigamy laws in Florida cover both the bigamist and the person who marries the bigamist (Florida State Legislature, 2011h), so liability isn't limited to just the possessor of a bigamous marriage.

In the event that there is an actual bigamous marriage, it is considered a third degree felony (Florida State Legislature, 2011h) and is punishable with imprisonment for up to five years (Florida State Legislature, 2011a) and a fine up to $5,000 (Florida State Legislature, 2011b). There are escalating punishments for repeat bigamy offences, which extend the imprisonment sentence to be up to ten years (Florida State Legislature, 2011c). Florida does have incohate laws, attempt, solicitation and conspiracy (Florida State Legislature, 2011d), that can expand the liability of bigamy, however since purportation and cohabitation are not a factor of bigamy, this would only apply to those involved in assisting an actual bigamous marriage. Because of the ambiguity of how Florida sentences incohate offences, it is assumed that the liability is comparable to bigamy's liability of up to five years and a fine up to $5,000 (Florida State Legislature, 2011d).

Round-Up of Laws:

Because of the broad-reaching combination of the adultery and the lewd & lascivious behavior laws, the liability for all forms of non-monogamous relationship is high. There is the expected liability due to the combination of adultery and bigamy laws, which makes those in the family liable due to the lack of methods of legitimizing sexual interactions beyond a dyadic marriage. Swingers and open relationships within a legal marriage should be primarily concerned with the adultery laws, as the liability for them is not only with the committing partner within the dyad, but their external partner(s). Swingers and open relationships that are not within a legal marriage and who are co-habiting should also should be concerned, as both partners are liable under the lewd and lascivious behavior law, providing the same level of liability as adultery.

Polyamorists and polyfidelitists are hit very hard by the combination of adultery and lewd & lascivious laws, but are spared the harsher effects of the bigamy laws due to the absence of perpetration and cohabitation in Florida bigamy laws. As expected, it is the presence of bigamy laws that forces these families to suffer from the full-force of adultery and, in Florida’s case, lewd & lascivious behavior laws. even outside of the dyadic-marriage confines, cohabitation issues immediately fall under lewd & lascivious behavior, so avoiding legal marriage does not escape liability. In the event of a legal marriage then a redundant level of liability comes in effect from the adultery law.

Florida's lewd & lascivious behavior law creates a very effective catch that makes liable not only non-monogamous behavior, but also negates avoiding liability by not having a legal marriage within a non-monogamous family. The liability is reduced outside of a legal marriage, only being applicable to those co-habiting, however in polyfidelitous families this is rather useless, being as there are no outside relations.

Non-Monogamous Strategies:

Because of the effectiveness of Florida's combination of laws, there is little that non-monogamists can do to avoid liability completely. Though not possessing a legal marriage does reduce the liability for partners outside the family, it does nothing to remove the liability under lewd and lascivious behavior for those within the family.

In the event that a legal marriage is unavoidable, then one method to limit liability is to have split households, with only legally parried partners living in a household. Though this puts a great deal of strain on polyamorous and polyfidelitous families, it will reduce the liability under lewd and lascivious behavior, though not under adultery.

As a one shining ray within Florida’s laws, because bigamy only looks at legal marriage, avoiding liability under this law is relatively easy: don't get married to more than one person at a time.

References

Florida State Legislature. (2011a). Penalties; applicability of sentencing structures; mandatory minimum sentences for certain reoffenders previously released from prison. (Florida Statutes XLVI-775.082). Tallahassee, FL: Florida State Legislature.

Florida State Legislature. (2011b). Fines. (Florida Statutes XLVI-775.083). Tallahassee, FL: Florida State Legislature.

Florida State Legislature. (2011c). Violent career criminals; habitual felony offenders and habitual violent felony offenders; three-time violent felony offenders; definitions; procedure; enhanced penalties or mandatory minimum prison terms. (Florida Statutes XLVI-775.084). Tallahassee, FL: Florida State Legislature.

Florida State Legislature. (2011b). Fines. (Florida Statutes XLVI-775.083). Tallahassee, FL: Florida State Legislature.

Florida State Legislature. (2011d). Attempts, solicitation, and conspiracy. (Florida Statutes XLVI-777.04). Tallahassee, FL: Florida State Legislature.

Florida State Legislature. (2011e). Living in open adultery. (Florida Statutes XLVI-798.01). Tallahassee, FL: Florida State Legislature.

Florida State Legislature. (2011f). Lewd and lascivious behavior. (Florida Statutes XLVI-798.02). Tallahassee, FL: Florida State Legislature.

Florida State Legislature. (2011g). Bigamy; punishment. (Florida Statutes XLVI-826.01). Tallahassee, FL: Florida State Legislature.

Florida State Legislature. (2011h). Knowingly marrying husband or wife of another. (Florida Statutes XLVI-826.03). Tallahassee, FL: Florida State Legislature.

1 comment:

  1. Hey,

    You’ve probably heard that good communication is the cornerstone
    of every successful marriage. There’s a reason for that – it’s true.

    Here’s an effective strategy for validating your spouse in every
    conversation. It will instantly strengthen the bond between you both.

    Seriously, this is a game changer that will transform your marriage instantly!

    >> Transform Your Marriage in Minutes <<

    Talk to you soon,

    Ana

    ReplyDelete