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You wrote, Would this constitute fraud in the eyes of the law, since you are essentially divorcing solely to avoid paying taxes?

Is it fraud for following the tax rules? Marriage is not (or is no longer) an absolute. If both parties agree to it, it's simple enough to change a contract or a marriage. In fact, to the logically-minded, it's just another variable you can tweak to adjust taxes.

My girlfriend and I live together and aren't married in part because it would cost us more if we were married. We have considered getting married later in life in order to claim on each other's social security. Is doing so fraud?

All we're doing is making calculated decisions to follow tax and social security rules in order to minimize our costs and maximize our returns. But we're just following the rules the lawmakers made. It's not our fault that they sometimes make stupid laws with stupid consequences. They're the ones that made the rules; if they don't like that the rules encourage divorce, they should fix that.

Admittedly after divorcing my first wife, I have a bias against marriage in general; but I don't see how the OP getting divorced is all that different from my situation... We're just starting from a different bias toward marriage.

BTW having had kids - now grown - I don't think I would hide this from them even if they were little. Usually kids are more clever than parents give them credit for. If you explain it to them, I'm sure they will understand. What should really matter to them is how you treat each other.

Also I cover my girlfriend's healthcare through my current employer. In the past she's covered me. We've switched based on cost. Years ago it was impossible to get coverage for an unmarried partner. Then companies started providing coverage for declared same-sex partners. More recently companies have begun providing coverage for undeclared opposite sex partners. We've been taking advantage of the later for the past 3+ years to help keep our healthcare costs at a minimum.

- Joel
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