I've seen this in various places, and I was wondering what are the benefits, both financial or non economic related, of marriage, especially one with a pre-nup? I'm not intending on doing it, but I'm just interested because I never got in a secular society why anyone would marry through the state without it being for financial benefits.

Secondly, if there was a pre-nup, when I wanted to marry a real partner could I divorce my platonic friend without having any severe repercussions for doing it?

Thirdly, if the state found out it was a hoax or a scheme, could they charge me for something like fraud?

I would like to learn about the US's federal case and, if possible, in my own country of Portugal. I wanted to ask in meta if we can post question about a non-US case but I don't have enough reputation so...

I'm not talking about immigration. The hypothesis would be both partners would be native, i.e. either both American or both Portuguese.

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    At least in the case of marrying for a green card, I believe it's common for immigration officials to check up on the couple, to see if they are living together and are "really" married, rather than just filing the marriage license and going their seperate ways. This is really a legal issue, not one of money or personal finance. (And as it's not asking for particular legal advice, I think this would make a good question at law.stackexchange.com.)
    – chepner
    May 27, 2021 at 11:31
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    @chepner no i mean like financial part of it and possibly other benefits, not like using it for immigration or to scam a partner like can i get financial benefits we're considering in a scenario where we are both legally citizens of the country
    – Imeguras
    May 27, 2021 at 11:54
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    I knew a woman who, in 1970, as a hippie, married an Iranian guy so he could get UK residency, for £1,000 cash. She later had to spend rather more than that to get a divorce, and it took 7 years. Also she suffered other losses than just her legal costs. These days, immigration officers want proof (evidence) of a long term, substantive and ongoing relationship. May 27, 2021 at 12:28
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    To answer your meta question, we welcome questions about any country, not just the U.S.
    – Ben Miller
    May 27, 2021 at 13:21

4 Answers 4


This is a legal question, not a personal finance one. You might find a better answer on Law.SE.

That said, you might find the Wikipedia article on marriage of convenience interesting. I quote the relevant sentence:

Because they exploit legal loopholes, sham marriages of convenience often have legal consequences. For example, U.S. Immigration (USCIS) can punish this with a US$250,000 fine and five-year prison sentence.

You might also find this interesting:

In Australia, there have been marriages of convenience to bring attention to the government's Youth Allowance laws. On 31 March 2010 two students were publicly and legally married on the University of Adelaide's lawn so that they could both receive full Youth Allowance.

Check the sources cited by Wikipedia for more.

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    the OP is asking about NOT the residency case
    – Fattie
    May 28, 2021 at 17:26

I've heard of older retired people doing it, probably for Social Security benefits. I'm sure younger people have tried it as well although I'm not aware of any.

I'm not sure about the financial benefits though. For taxes you get double the deduction. But, considering you are just friends, you should be making about 2x the salary. The double deduction comes in handy when only one member of the family works. I could see doing something for health insurance purposes. I would really do my research before doing something like that. Now you are talking about cutting into someone's profits and the insurance companies have leverage.

As for divorce, I don't have a lot of insight. I would say if one of you has a lot more money or came into some money, that person is at least opening themselves up to the prenup being challenged. Money has the potential to change people even good friends.

  • Thank you! its definetely a start, i wish i could upvote your answer but i don't have enough rep
    – Imeguras
    May 27, 2021 at 14:23
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    If you are not married, and one of you croaks, the other could end up in a world of trouble , especially if there is no will. Not just inheritance tax problems. The dead person's family claiming the house, for example. Nothing like death to bring out the worst in people, expecially if they can smell money. May 27, 2021 at 14:47
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    @Michael Harvey: That's a legal question, though. AFAIK, if there's no will, then marriage is the end of it.
    – jamesqf
    May 27, 2021 at 17:04
  • @jamesqf yes! i only care about the money around it, basically seeing this from a very egoistic perspective
    – Imeguras
    May 27, 2021 at 19:32

I have never heard of financial reasons for platonic friends getting married.

I have heard of the reverse, romantically involved partners with children not marrying for benefits and rent relief. i.e. Mom is single, receives Snap and rent relief, Dad "lives with" Mom, vamoosing to his parents when checkups by state.

  • Interesting always thought there were more benefits for staying together
    – Imeguras
    Jun 11, 2021 at 18:25

This is a US based answer.

I knew a couple that was living together but decided to get married strictly for the financial reasons.

The biggest reason was due to health insurance and related taxes. To get coverage to cover the non-employee the premiums for the non-employee was considered taxable income. But if they were married the premiums weren't taxable income. In this case there were also children involved, and insurance coverage from the could also have played a part.

I have also heard that people approaching retirement age or already retired may do this for insurance coverage, pensions, and the like.

I know that in many states hospital visitation rules, and medical information rules are easier if they are married.

There can also be streamlined funds transfers, because spouses don't have to worry about lifetime limits related to inheriting and gifts.

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