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the only way around it is to get a divorce

Over 20 years ago, IIRC, a couple of friends of mine (couple is rignt: married to each other and having two kids), both with Ph.D.s in physics, so they were presumably quite intelligent, and I believe they were, figured out that it really would be a lot cheaper for them to get a divorce. They figured they would still live together, since they loved each other and all.

But she just could not bring herself to do it.

I do not know if they could get a divorce near the end of the year, get a nice vacation on the Caribbean with some of the savings, and get married again on Valentine's day. And do it each year. Since the divorce would be uncontested, it might be relatively inexpensive. They did have access to a good lawyer, so maybe he advised against trying it.
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