My husband and I have been together for quite a while and we got married this past November. Not even a year in we realized that maybe we should have waited until after I graduated, or maybe not even made the leap at all. Not that we don’t want to be together — we love each other very much!
But when we weren’t married I had “zero” income. Now that we’re married and I’m on his healthcare and I’m trying to continue my education I’m realizing that my low/no income healthcare was far better than actually being insured. And now I’m worried about me receiving enough aid to finish school.
Has anyone else thought about just getting a divorce on paper in order to reap the financial benefits? -Jessie
Update: before you comment, you may want to read Jessie’s clarifying comment.
Comments on Should we get divorced but stay together?
In regards to the school aid question only: It may be beneficial to file your taxes separately instead of jointly. I recommend talking to your school’s financial aid counselor to see if it makes sense for you. They can also point you in the right direction for other services your school may offer like a foodbank, low-cost medical care for students, free tax preparation services, or free legal help.
Divorces, even on paper, are expensive, and may cost you more in the long run than you’re paying now for other services. And if you live in a place with “at fault” divorce, you may be looking at even more trouble.
In the end, if things are harder because you’re married, this is a time to look to your spouse for support too. You’re not doing these hard things by yourself, you’re doing it together for the good of your new baby family.
In most cases, if you’re married but file your taxes separately, you still have to include your spouse’s income on the FAFSA, which often determines federal aid for most students. It’s important to call the FAFSA hotline to clarify each situation: 800-4-FED-AID
This is also true of many financial aid applications. In order to claim a marital status of separated or divorced, these applications often require some sort of proof that the situation is legally finalized.
not just spouse, but anyone who contributes to the finances in your home. when i applied for fafsa, i even had to include the income of my parents who were living in another state, but helping me out while i went to school & worked. so, divorced or married, if they are living in the same house & more than roomies, it goes on the application.
I believe you only have to file with your parent’s info if you are under the age of 25 or something? Anyone know the exact numbers for this?
I believe it’s 25 or married, whichever comes first.
It’s 24 or younger, unless you are married, have children of your own, or have served in the military.
Also, once you’re in grad school, you’re “an adult” and don’t have to report your parent’s income, regardless of age (I speak from personal experience).
Also, while it may be beneficial to file Married Filing Separately for school, you run the risk of lowering your federal return. MFS does away with pretty much all credits on the federal level, especially if you qualify for Earned Income Credit.
There are multiple online tax tools that you can use. TurboTax, H&R Block and (of course) the IRS have great articles on the subject. You can also call your local H&R Block office during the off season (Premium Offices and other offices are still open on a limited basis) and someone will answer any question you have, no cost.
Just to clarify, if the poster lives in the US (which I’m assuming based on the fafsa issue) all 50 States have had no-fault divorce since 2010. Agree on the other points, though.
I was trying to speak as broadly as possible without being country specific.
I did not know that no-fault is now available in every US state. That’s good! (If the person posting the question decides to go down the divorce road.)
So I slept on this question. It’s a doozey!
And I wanted to add to my previous comment that divorce for merely economic reasons may be treated as fraud on the system for whatever low-income services you’re trying to get.
For certain, being divorced “on paper only” may impact things like a possible bankruptcy, disability, or retirement accounts. If you have children involved, it may impact the services and they’re eligible for also.
And although the fraud issue doesn’t play in other situations, it will likely affect all of your marital rights like dower (a wife’s right to the home if the husband dies), inheritance, other kinds of insurance. And what if your spouse dies while you’re “divorced”? Anything that isn’t legally titled in your name would likely go to your partner’s parents — how well do you like your in-laws? How much would they possibly resent you for divorcing their baby?
This is such a can of legal worms, that may or may not be worth it. And this is certainly a decision to be made with your partner (and your families where applicable).
THIS. In addition to what divorce can do to your credit rating, in my state (TX), if you have a will and then get divorced, your will is automatically interpreted as if your spouse had died before you (means he doesn’t get anything and won’t serve as Executor).
If you’ve got kids, then that creates even more room for conflict, as your ex might not be able to be the Trustee of contingent trusts (basically, he couldn’t manage the kid’s inheritance until they are old enough to handle it).
Yes, you can do a new will after you get divorced and specifically include your ex, but you’ve opened the door for somebody to contest it.
Personally, I think it’s a Pandora’s box of unintended consequences and I wouldn’t recommend it. If you can find a way to make ends meet, stay married.
The government screws you when you get married. If you file separately, you lose the ability to take certain deductions (such as the student loan interest deduction). If you’re on IBR for student loans, you can expect your loan payment to increase dramatically. I have a friend that did not bother getting legally married (still had a big wedding, etc) because they would not be able to afford their student loan payments. I am in a similar situation and we are considering getting divorced “on paper” so that we can save $500 a month. So disheartening.
I am in the same boat- My husband and I need to get divorced on paper to support our family- I owe 60 grand in loans and make one fourth of what he makes my loan payments are over 1,000 a month. We have a house daycare and our children’s needs. I am can’t be the only person who has divorced over student loans? ALso will that make a difference if in our divorce I am still living with my husband?
It depends. Lots of things these days are based on “household income” so it doesn’t matter if you’re married or not; the only thing that matters is that you’re living together as more than roommates.
I had a similar situation, but it was flipped. While I was first going to school, my financial aid was still based on my mother’s income. Getting married made me an independent and far “poorer” as far as my financial aid paperwork went. I don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong in getting it on paper that you’re no longer married in order to make sure you have educational opportunities, but you would probably want to look into the legality of it, and consult an attorney.
Please… for the Love of whatever you believe in… don’t get a divorce because of money. The gov’t isn’t here to pay for your education and healthcare. IT’s for people who really need it, not people who just don’t want to pay for it. This is what’s wrong with our system. That mindset is why things are so jacked. Suck it up, take out loans, and pay them back like the rest of us who are responsible grown ups!
This is very patronizing to those of us who have done everything “right” but are drowning in student loan debt and unable to make a living wage and are without any form of healthcare.
Just because you are lucky doesn’t somehow make you a “responsible grown up”. The system is so jacked because some people have far more money than they could ever need or use, made of the backs of the workers who work 40+ hours a week and can’t even afford to go to the dentist. The workers are fighting over scraps while CEOs make a thousand times more money than the rest of us.
But of course rich people “deserve” what they have, while the rest of us “deserve” to suffer because we were born into worse circumstances and weren’t lucky enough to get out. It has nothing to do with hard work, so quit feeling so superior.
I actually think both of you are right.
Like Jillian said, you both have a point. I really don’t think people who are not genuinely needy gaming and abusing the social safety nets, etc that we have in place is the main problem in our country, the distribution of wealth, the kinds of things our government chooses to fund (I personally think we can afford to send everyone to college for free, and/or have single-payer health care and still be secure without spending more than every other country in the world combined on the pentagon, for example, but that’s off-topic) are much bigger problems.
I also applied to and attended grad school as a completely single young 20-something. I got financial aid, but this financial aid included absolutely zilch in government grants. I had a small scholarship from my school and the rest was student loans. We don’t know what kind of financial aid she’s referring to, FAFSA does view married students differently, so she may have difficulty even obtaining enough loans, that could be a real issue.
However, I also agree that getting divorced for health insurance and financial aid is not a good idea, and feels wrong to me. Others have already covered the unanticipated costs and consequences of divorce and you may not be able to get back on whatever health plan you were on before once divorced anyways. I have had really sucky health insurance myself, but health insurance should be changing, hopefully improving, soon, with the state run markets opening up under Obamacare. Also, most colleges and universities offer some sort of health plan to their students, regardless of marital status, if you already have insurance, etc, that may or may not be better than what you have. Its best to reach out to your school and a tax professional about all these issues. And, as others have said, marriage is a gift and a responsibility, it’s about facing tough times together, and divorce shouldn’t be a first resort for any difficulty you face in your marriage, especially financial difficulties (my opinion anyway). There has to be a solution for the two of you that doesn’t involve divorce.
This is my first comment since joining The Tribe. But this particular comment stuck out for me as important for me to weigh in on.
Both my husband to be as well as myself are academics. He is a professor and I am a graduate student. Yes, we are going to defend our domain, but let us put that aside for a moment. What we see amongst our undergraduate students is not an unwillingness to take out loans. I did. Very deep loans. The point this original poster appears to be an allusion to is that FASA loans, which to be honest are no great deal at the current interest rate, have themselves eligible borrower limits. This poster seems to have been thrown into a category which prevents loan acquisition, not ‘free government money.’ Excepting the Pell Grant, there is limited federal grant money for education. The way through ‘free’ is on university fellowships, which is a different case to asses than what this poster appears to be asking for by way of advice.
Anyway, I am new to this blog and hope it is a productive site on which to participate. That said, the utterly misleading portrayal you depict of educational funding could not be left unchecked.
As both a Graduate Student and a university employee, and single, with a mortgage, AND a butt-load of student debt… I totally understand the huge question mark looming over your head of “how the hell are we making things meet?”-dom.
For me, the only way I was able to afford all of these things was actually taking a job at the university I currently am attending. You will want to talk to the HR office to find out what their policies are, but I am allowed as a full-time employee to take up to 9 credit hours of graduate level classes on a tuition waver. So every semester I take 9 credit hours that will go to my MBA, and then because that qualifies me as a full time student, I can suspend my student loans. Because my loans are suspended the interest accrues 1/2 as quickly as it normally would, I pay on it as if I owed the full amount, thus shortening the time it takes me to pay it off. You will want to check on the terms of your loans to see if this would work for you, if you have any.
I know even a part-time employee there is some tuition waver involved. (Plus part-time is only 5 more hours a week more than being a work study or GA!)
Food for thought!
That is a very good idea for the poster – take a job at the university to help make ends meet. There are a lot of perks to working at the university, not the least of which is school credit for work, or financial aid credit for work.
Other perks may include reduced-price healthcare, secondary healthcare, reduced price transportation (in a myriad of ways), and eligibility for external services which reduce their price for university workers – things like haircuts, car rentals, movie/theater tickets, etc.
Hey guys: please keep our comment policy in mind. We’re all for disagreeing and strong opinions, but we’re not cool with readers insulting each other.
I’m sorry…but this article just blows my mind. It makes marriage look like a joke – and just as worse, is that people are thinking this is ethically OK. Sure, there are loopholes, but how is that helping ANYONE but yourself? Please don’t even post articles like this… it encourages this type of thinking, which is SO mind-blowing to people like myself who are paying my bills and scraping by, but doing it legally and ethically without putting my marriage on hold so that other people can pick up my tab. I’m a complete liberal, but this is infuriating to read as part of your website.
The idea with our reader questions is to allow readers to educate each other. We didn’t post the question because we support it — we posted the question because we figured our readers would have informative perspectives for the original poster… which, clearly you do.
Now the issue is just hoping that Offbeat Homies can share those perspectives in respectful ways. It’s great to be “a complete liberal,” but it’s also important to be articulate and respectful.
You know, for a lot of people marriage is a joke. A sexist and discriminating institution. I’m all for people getting by in any way they can, if that means getting married or divorced to get HEALTHCARE than they should do it. Seriously. HEALTHCARE. I’m glad you’re such a bootstrapper and never have needed help but that sure isn’t everyone else. And I say this all as someone who is married.
It’s insulting to be all high drama ‘oh my god but what about the sanctity of marriageeeeeee’ when you look at the amount of people who either cannot get married or cannot afford healthcare.
I’d suggest looking into federal student loans, as you can borrow a certain amount with those without paying interest until after you graduate.
Ultimately a divorce would probably cost more financially and emotionally than you would gain from it. Cass’s comment had some good suggestions, look into those.
Thanks for the support on my comment. I had to take a moment to formulate all my thoughts and emotions on this subject. This feels so divisive. And it’s completely different from what I experienced personally.
I got married during grad school, but I feel so lucky that it only improved my situation. Although we got by on American Grad PLUS loans and my husband’s research stipend. Other than not being eligible for foodstamps (SNAP) because we were students, we did sign up for many other low-income student programs.
I don’t know about how things are where you’re at, but in my state it is extremely hard to get healthcare if you’re broke (they do a lottery system), and it’s supposed to be for people who are truly in need. If this is the case where you are too, and you have access to other healthcare, *please* leave that slot to someone who truly doesn’t.
I hope I don’t sound like a condescending @$$h01e Canadian but my stomach dropped at the idea of a lottery for health care. ((I’m hoping it’s some sort of a joke that I’m not getting?)) Maybe it’s because I just watched the first episode of ’30 Days’ on Netfix, but I think I would have failed horribly at being an American.
I will second the married filing separately statement. It could solve many of your problems. I also have much crappier health care now that I am actually insured. I’d sit down with a google doc and see exactly how much more monetary output you are looking at, and compare it against the cost of a quickie divorce in your state. Some states require a legal separation period before divorce. That would mean establishing another domicile, which would just be even more money.
tl;dr- it might not make that much financial sense depending on your state/situation.
Also, I am weird and superstitious/sentimental, but I feel very different married to my husband than I felt living together. I am probably very much in the minority, but it would make me feel less secure and stable to go through the process of divorce. I am also not very pragmatic sometimes and the “ick factor” of having to pretend divorce my husband would probably scare me out of doing it. I’m sure many people are less wussy and impractical.
I’m not a lawyer and I don’t know much about divorce law but its an expensive and somewhat lengthy process. The fastest divorce I’ve ever encountered in my personal experience took six months. Even if you both represent yourself in court there’s still court costs etc plus all the legal paperwork. It’s not something I would personally consider for a multitude of reasons, the two I listed among them.
I live in WA and my whole divorce took about 4 months and I think cost about $200. If you don’t have any communal property or debt, it’s very simple. My ex signed the paperwork and I took care of all of the in person stuff alone, which included turning in some paperwork and then coming before a judge for 5 minutes. It doesn’t have to be a huge process, though it will take some time.
It’s very likely that being married only a few months, they wouldn’t have much community property (unless it’s a place like California), so it could be fairly simple.
I’m going to try flipping this around: would you marry someone you aren’t romantically involved with & don’t love for financial reasons? It seems fraudulent to divorce someone then to continue to be romantically involved with that person (and not because you’ve rediscovered your love for one another). I am also betting that this coming to the attention of a judge in a divorce might not be a good thing…
Horrible as it might seem, I would marry someone I didn’t love and wasn’t romantically involved with for financial reasons. In a heartbeat, actually. A friend of mine and I seriously considered it because of the financial considerations. We ultimately didn’t, for a myriad of reasons, but I don’t see the problem with it.
Now that I’m with my partner, neither of us are ready for a wedding, but we both know that should the financial benefits outweigh the costs, we’ll absolutely get married and have the wedding some time later.
If you’re in the US, us a FAFSA calculator to get an estimate of your married and single outlooks. That can give you an idea of the federal aid you can expect in either situation.
But know that that’s not the whole picture. First, you’re generally locked into a marital status when you file the form–you’re considered “married” for the full year, even if you’re going through a divorce. So you’d need everything legally tidied up before you file.
Second, your college can choose to still give you aid, even if you’re married. Talk to your school’s financial aid counselors to get a good look at what’s going to benefit you most.
I don’t mean to be disrespectful, but I’m pretty disappointed that someone would even consider this for multiple reasons.
I know not everyone feels the same way about marriage, but getting divorced for money(at the expense of tax payers, btw) is a good quick way to cheapen your relationship. I don’t know you, but I would be upset if someone I loved and supported during their marriage decided that this is what they wanted to do.
And from a practical standpoint, have you researched the divorce laws in your state? This could actually end up costing you more money in the long run. Many states require that you live separately for some time before granting your divorce, are you really willing to move out? Are you prepared to hire and pay for a lawyer?
I work in health and human services for my community’s poverty stricken families, and while I acknowledge the system is broken for everyone, this post makes me very sad. I know how frustrating it is for people who fall between the cracks of having just too much to prevent them from receiving help, but not enough to meet their needs. There are services in place for those people though that are separate from government aid, and I encourage you to seek those out if you feel you need them.
You didn’t share your situation, so I don’t know if there is something in your medical history that makes this a tougher decision for you, but if there isn’t I would really encourage you to really think about this.
As a newlywed who recently came onto some financial hardships with her spouse as well, I think you would regret this. Just my humble opinion. Good luck with everything.
I’m going to agree with everyone saying to go see your financial aid counselor at school. Most times they are very willing to help you figure out how they can help you file and what aid you can receive. They can also help you look into grants! You may qualify for a type of aid that you weren’t even aware of.
You may also want to contact your insurance provider and see if there isn’t a better plan you can be on. Or just shop around a bit.
I say, check all options first. Divorce proceedings can be a pain in the ass
and costly depending on your state. (I’m not judging your choice if that’s the route you take!)
As someone who has been through a long and expensive no-fault divorce and who knows others who have gone through the same, the idea that you’d be saving money is a bit laughable to me. Divorce is not fast, nor is it cheap. Also, the government considers you married for the entire year even if your divorce is quick, so it doesn’t matter for your loan purposes.
In my home state, you had to be separated for 6 months, financially independent of one another, divvy up your assets, complete enormous amounts of paperwork, and pay a large filing fee of around $500. That’s without any lawyers getting involved. Take a good hard look at the hassle, the fees, and the cost of possibly setting up separate domiciles as well as the emotional cost that may sneak up and surprise you. I’d wager that you’re not really better off divorced and involved, especially if you just file separately.
I would talk to an accountant about this if you’re serious about it. Have a chat with them about how your finances would look if you went through a divorce and how they would look if you just stuck it out. Chances are good that you’re only looking at a couple of tough years right now, and you’d spend about half of that working on getting divorced. I spent $2000+ on my divorce, which took almost a year and killed my finances. A good friend of mine had a simpler case and spent about $1000 on it and it took more than a year due to separation rules. Get your facts, get the numbers, and then think long and hard about any emotional fallout that may occur before you file any paperwork.
was “for richer or for poorer” in your vows?
also, as someone who had to get gov medical aid b/c they are disabled & were single & living alone, i find this a bit insulting. if i remember correctly, support didn’t depend on whether i was married but the combined income of those in the house & whether i was a dependent. if you guys would be filing as single people, that would be fraud on one level or another. & that means you’d be cheating people who need it allot more.
perhaps you should consider committing to a budget AND a person in order to handle this temporary hardship a little less rashly. if you guys think this is a reasonable option, please talk to a counselor, both financial & marriage.
many struggle for years to get their marriage legally recognized. please don’t take that lightly.
In America anyway, it’s OK to file separate tax forms while married. You are not considered “single” but it takes more into account than if taxes are filed jointly. Sometimes there is some loss of tax credits or other benefits, but that’s usually weighed against the benefits of filing separately.
Usual situations are when one spouse has an enormous amount of debt — or the flip side, individual income; when one spouse has a business in his/her name alone; and newlyweds who do it for school or student loan applicability.
Stay true to yourself: If you married for practical reasons ( like healthcare and insurances) than stay practical. If you married for spiritual reasons (like love and religion), than stay spiritual. 🙂 You can also project yourself in ten years, and choose which options you see yourself live with for that long!
This irks me because I have spent years trying to get divorced (from a man who is using our marital status to get government aid) so my love and I can get married and I can put my new partner on our children’s birth certificates. Just get loans and/or talk to your financial aid office.
I’m going to sidestep all the ways that this post really bugs me and just stick with facts as much as possible.
Unless you live in Nevada, a divorce is hardly an easy solution. In my home state, it took me almost two years to get divorced, which I couldn’t even file for until I was able to prove I had lived apart from my husband for a year. Many states have separation requirements. Are you actually willing to maintain two dwellings if need be?
Also, my no fault self filed divorce cost over three grand in filing fees. We were in court with 12 other couples and ours was the only divorce granted that day; everyone else missed a step or signed something wrong or didn’t check box a, and had to start over including paying all the fees.
For the almost two years it took me to get divorced I was liable for “my” part of my husbands taxes, as the government considered our income joint even though we lived and filed separately. Even though my divorce was final in August, I had a substantial tax liability to deal with the next April.
The “easy” divorce exists in Vegas and in the minds of right wing talk radio hosts. The reality is that divorce is complex and expensive. (And, for most people, a hurtful ordeal, hince all the serious feels this post is inspiring).
And as someone who is currently paying back the loans I had to take out to pay for my last two years of school because…guess what, still liable for my husbands income during the long stupid divorce process, I really don’t think it will help you out at all. And as someone with loved ones suffering due to lack of insurance and not enough social programs to go around, I have to say suck it up.
Instead of worrying about how you can pay for school now that you have more income, or that your insurance isn’t as good as the benefits you had in the past, you could be worrying about how to pay for your cancer treatment with no insurance and juuuust enough income not to qualify for Medicaid. Could always be worse.
I’ve actually done a fair bit of research into joint/separate filing (with my father, the accountant) because I’m a freelancer/contractor, while my partner is a 9-5 office engineer, including costs for me to go back to school. There are a LOT of ways that you can tweek the financials to your advantage by filing separately, filing jointly, or even having your husband file as “head of household” with you as his “dependent”. You should totally look into all of those options (maybe when all the tax firms offer “free” consultations every year), because you might be able to get your perfect solution that way.
If not, there are always student loans. I have them, and yes, they suck, but the Stafford Federal loan does not accrue interest or require payment until you are no longer a full time student. Worth looking into, especially since you can apply for aid and then tell them “no, I only want X amount, not X+Y like you offered”. That’s what kept my loans down to a manageable amount. You can also find and apply to outside scholarships. It takes time to track them all down, but there are a bunch of them on the internet that could totally cut your costs.
Regardless of where you live, getting a divorce (even just on paper) would be expensive, stressful, and hardly quiet. I would not want to deal with the firestorm of comments from my family if I told them I was getting a divorce for financial reasons. Granted, most of them are VERY Catholic, so “blasphemous” would be the most common word there, but even looking at the comments above show that people get up in arms about the idea. Keep that in mind if you decide to go through with it, since there are some pretty real consequences emotionally even if you and your husband are completely in love and in a stable relationship.
So yea, to sum up: Talk to the financial aid office at your school, talk to an accountant/financial adviser (in tax season if you want to do it cheap/free!), look for outside scholarships if your school doesn’t offer any, and remember that divorce is pricey, both emotionally and financially.
Good luck, in any case! 🙂
I don’t know much about the US and how healthcare insurance and the like works down there.. But, I do know that in any instance divorce is a costly and lengthy process, and in some ways divorcing but remaining together could likely be viewed as fraud.
I do know that when my husband and I were living common law and I was still in school it actually benefitted me in terms of student loans. Because we were both considered to be living off of his income (which wasn’t enough to financially support us both), I got extra allowances and grants due to being a low income family. It also helped my husband come tax time because I wasn’t earning enough during my summer’s working to contribute to our income, so he paid a lot less in taxes because of my income being so little.
If it does affect your student loans, maybe look into getting a student line of credit as well as the loan. I know it’s not ideal, but in the long run it will help get you through school. Also, look at other options. What is your budget like for other items at home? Where can you cut money out in order to pay for school? What support services are around? Is food hard to come by financially? Are there food banks or food support programs around? Can you find subsidized housing? etc etc.
I’m with many others replying here that your question is upsetting – to put it mildly. However, putting that aside…there are multiple things you should be reassessing here:
1. How long until you graduate? A year? Two years? While I don’t know what your medical coverage was before your marriage in comparison to after, I’m fairly certain that they can’t be too vastly different. My healthcare was better when I worked part-time at Starbucks than it is now at a full-time 8-4 office job. But I don’t complain, it’s just one of those things.
As far as aid goes, that can easily be rectified by seeking help through your school’s financial aid/counselling office to figure out your options. Maybe a financial planner too to help out with your budget. Perhaps you’ll have to get an weekend part-time job. There are numerous ways to make it work.
2. Divorce is expensive and lengthy. There are legal fees, court fees, document fees, filing fees, administrative fees…not to mention depending on where you live there are stipulations (living separately, etc). In fact, by the time your divorce is all said and done, you might have graduated already. Then you would’ve just spent all that money and time on nothing. Financially speaking, it would be more economical for you to stay married than to get a divorce.
3. Your divorce probably won’t be granted. In my province, one of the stipulations is you must have lived apart for one year before the process can go through. You may start the process before living separately, but nothing will go through until that year is up. You can live in the same house, but you may not sleep together, have sexual relations, eat together, do social activities together, etc. If you do not adhere to that, or even LIE about it, your divorce won’t be granted and you could be held in contempt. So first, there’s that. Secondly, the court must deem your reasons for divorce VALID. To divorce purely because “My healthcare isn’t as good/my current financial aid might not work out” probably doesn’t count as a valid reason.
Lastly, I will say marriage should be taken as a serious matter, and I’m assuming you entered into your marriage seriously. It’s not something like you bought a dress one day, and then returned it the next because it doesn’t work for you right this minute. Marriage should be a life-long commitment, but sometimes there are situations where it cannot be…hence divorce. And I’m guessing some of these people who are divorced who posted here did not enter their marriages expecting/wanting to be divorced.
I got married (to someone I love) for the financial benefits, so I can totally understand the impetus to get divorced for the same reason! I don’t really agree with or even understand all the shaming going on in this thread. However, in most US states, they give “carrots” to convince people to get married, and “sticks” to convince them not to get divorced, so I don’t think it would work out in anyone’s favor.
Have you two sat down with some kind of professional – a fixed-fee financial planner or maybe someone in the financial aid office of your school – to figure your whole situation out? You might be getting less financial aid that before you got married, but you and your husband should be paying pretty low income taxes between the fact that you don’t have any income and you are going to school. Also, you might have other insurance options than just your husband’s insurance – my partner gets pretty decent, free insurance from his school.
I think the main problem I see with this question is that acting like marriage can be switched on and off like a relationship status for the sake of convenience is very upsetting to those that see it as a (hopefully) permanent decision. Yes, people certainly move up, push back or sometimes even have weddings for the sake of finances. However, in most of those cases the love is present and they’re simply making official a relationship already in existence.
Divorce, on the other hand, says that two people are severing a relationship. It strikes me as fraudulent to announce to your family & friends that you are divorcing but you’ll continue to act as a married couple, just as it would seem fraudulent to marry someone for financial reasons with no intention of creating a union in any sense (physical, household, emotional, etc.).
But wasn’t it fraudulent for me and my partner to get married solely for insurance and tax purposes? If the state did not incentivize marriage, we would not have gotten married, pure and simple.
If a couple can have a union without a legal marriage (which I believe that they can), why can’t they have a union after severing that legal marriage? It seems like a very weird situation, where my partner and I are allowed to be together before we get married, but once we tie they knot, we can no longer form any other kind of relationship with each other!
“(hopefully) permanent decision”
Since when is it okay to project your relationship ideals onto another person’s relationship?
If she wants to get divorced and stay together as a couple, that’s HER business, not yours. She’s asking for advice, not for nitpicking about her ethics.
On the next page, Branwyn puts much of my same moral argument much more eloquently than I have managed to do so here. In this case it is not just my own moral ideals but the fact that the moral ideals of society will likely have an impact on her ability to go through with this plan.
I do agree with others that it may be a process that’s more lengthy and expensive than it may be worth. However, I’m going to throw my other two cents in. I don’t necessarily see the problem in mutually ending a legal binding. You can still have a relationship and not have the legal benefits/repercussions. I do understand that some people need government assistance, and can’t make it by without it (I know some people who won’t get married because their combined income would screw them over – not enough to make it by, but too much for government assistance). I don’t see it as cheating the system if you truly and honestly cannot make it by without it BUT if you can make it – even if you’re scraping pennies – then I think you should leave the benefits for those who definitely cannot get them on their own.
I’m in this flip-side of the situation right now, actually.
My fiance and I have been together for literally half my life, and engaged for a few years now. His job pays the bills, and I bring in extra grocery money and “hey, we haven’t seen a movie in like 6 months, let’s actually go out for once” money. We live within our means. His job offers healthcare, and he’s looked into how much it would cost to add me to the plan (which of course he can’t actually do, unless we get married). Just that large of an extra bill would push us pretty close to the edge of our comfort limit on finances each month, not counting any co-pays that might crop up, and seriously limiting any emergency funds we might need for whatever else life throws our way.
In January, I reluctantly got on Medicaid in order to have a much-needed surgery, as well as get back on a very expensive medication I was supposed to be on for years but couldn’t afford. Absolutely everything was covered. I still have a few follow up visits to do. What peeves me is how restrictive the income limit is. I would much rather pay into something like a sliding-scale system, but no… if I make literally $3 more per paycheck than I currently am, I get no healthcare (my job doesn’t offer it at all). The only state healthcare coverage that I would be eligible for is for family planning. Ironic, seeing as how I don’t want (and can’t physically have) kids. Getting married would immediately include his income, which apparently we’re supposed to be able to use an obscenely large portion of per month for health insurance (Food? Pfft, who needs to buy food to stay healthy…).
We’ve done our research and crunched the numbers. It’s very frustrating. I don’t claim to know the best solution to fix the “system,” but it’s clearly messed up. Unless one of us miraculously gets a much better paying job that offers healthcare immediately at a price we can actually afford… we’re stuck as just engaged for the foreseeable future.
Partial “This!”…healthcare costs at my employer are obscene ($2000 a month, anyone)…Unfortunately, obamacare doesn’t look to solve my little problem (the new private markets are available if you don’t have any offered through your employer), so how do everyday people make it work?
The PPACA (aka Obamacare) does have a stipulation that if your employer’s healthcare isn’t affordable then you can purchase through the exchange. I JUST heard my company’s benefits’ broker tell us that we weren’t able to make us of it because our plan was found to be reasonable.
Contact your company’s HR Manager or boss and ask them to look into this for you. If they’re working with an insurer or a broker then it shouldn’t be an issue to ask that insurer/broker to explain PPACA to your company. That’s why they’re pulling in the big bucks!
I’d recommend speaking to your college/university (not too sure of the US education system). They usually have dedicated finance departments that are pretty good at finding the best arrangements for you. They might also be able to provide some short term financial assistance if things are generally bad. They might be able to recommend some bursary or scholarship.
I had similar issues with Student Finance England. I haven’t lived with my parents for five years but as I’m not married to my partner they don’t believe I’m an independent student, despite earning my own wage. It was almost worth it to get married just to get the full financial assistance, but then I would have lost out in other areas
Does your husband’s company offer variations for their healthcare policies? Some companies are starting to offer high-deductible plans (HSA, not sure if there are others) in addition to traditional policies. With these you’ll pay much less in monthly premiums, sometimes you don’t pay for preventive care, and you might still receive the benefit of insurers’ discounts on services. It differs in that you’ll pay for everything up front up to the yearly maximum deductible. Once that has been reached the insurance carrier will often cover the rest of the costs until the end of the policy year.
edit: Apologies, I thought the cost of healthcare was an issue! Regardless, it’s still worth looking into other policies and maybe even looking at buying a policy as a couple as opposed to being on a group policy.
Also, perhaps you could take classes part-time and work a little to supplement the costs of school or healthcare. Not sure what your career path is but a little work experience never hurt a college grad! You might not qualify for as much when it comes to FAFSA or grants, but if your husband’s income is already preventing you from receiving much assistance I’m not sure if a PT job will have much impact (as others said, see an adviser for this).
There might be other ways to save money or make things stretch for a few more years. Take on roommates? Adapt a simple and super inexpensive diet? Go on a scholarship blitz? I figure if you’ve gone through the hurdles to get married you’ll be able to work your way through school.