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No. of Recommendations: 8
It would be a divorce on paper only.

I'm not really sure you can truly have such a thing, or at least I know that I could not. There's a reason that gay people are fighting so hard for the right to marry, and it has to do with all the legal rights and responsibilities that go with marriage. It is not easy or foolproof to set up something similar with trusts and other paperwork. I can imagine, for instance, a relative challenging the paperwork, something that can't be done if it is a marriage. I've seen hospitals and doctors refuse to honor medical POAs, and my limited experience says that seems to happen more often when the POA is for someone who is not a spouse, which is what would happen in this case.

I can see all sorts of other problems from not being able to pass assets to a spouse without estate tax issues since now the assets would be passing to a non-spouse, and as the OP seems to have significant assets derived from that significant salary, this is something that would concern me.

From a purely emotional perspective, I would have a hard time doing this. I can say that even though DH and I lived together for a year and a half prior to marriage, we both agreed that it just felt different, in a good way, after we were married even though we really just added that 'piece of paper' to the equation. I have other friends in similar circumstances who had similar feelings, and undoing that would not be worth the money to me, especially as this is from such a large pile of money to start with.

That said, this is not something I'd do without consulting a lot of professionals, and I'd be inclined to get 2nd opinions on everything. I'd want someone to look at the actual income tax implications, but I'd really be concerned about the estate tax implications and all the other things that go with marriage including medical POA information etc. I'd definitely worry about the effect on the kids, and I'm not convinced that the argument about doing it just for the money is a really good one. I'd be worried that I'd be sending the kids a message that says money is above all else, even the relationship between mom and dad, and that's just not a message I'd like to send.

I guess I'd be worried more about the pitfalls that I miss than anything else, and that's just not worth it to me, even for that $20k, and I make a fraction of the OP.
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