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I’m currently a freshman at a private college. I get little financial aid to offset the cost of attendance of over $80,000 per year. For the next three years, I would expect to pay around $250,000 for my education. My parents are generously offering to pay for my education but the details of where they are getting the money from, I do not know. Additionally, I feel morally obligated to pay them back.

My friend is a high school senior who is planning on going out-of-state (we both live in Florida). Her financial aid situation is a little better, but she’s still expected to pay around $40,000 per year for four years.

We both go to schools that meet full demonstrated financial need. But my EFC on FAFSA is over $65k. That explains why I get such little financial aid.

We’re exploring the possibility of entering a marriage of convenience in Florida. That way, we can be considered independents on FAFSA. Running the net price calculator at our schools, we would nominally pay nothing for both of us, saving ourselves from hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt. I make around 11k per year and she makes 3k per year. I have around 10k in checking accounts/investments and she has around 2k. We intend on divorcing after graduations. I’ve done some preliminary research and came up with these points:

We will get in touch with a family lawyer to draft an iron clad prenup. In particular, we want to ensure our assets going into the marriage remain separate, any of our earnings remain separate, and to include clauses that preclude alimony and child support if necessary.

I understand marriage comes with many tax and legal implications. My parents may still want to claim me as a dependent. I read they could still do this if we file our tax returns married separately. What if I still live with my parents during this marriage? Do I need to declare their financial support on my tax returns/FAFSA?

Please poke holes in my theory and see what I can do to plug them up. Thank you!

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  • I don't know about Florida, but where I live a "marriage of convenience" is a criminal offence.
    – user35069
    Mar 25, 2021 at 20:51
  • @RockApe under what law?
    – phoog
    Mar 25, 2021 at 23:44
  • As presently written: I understand the idea, but I can't tell what you're asking. You want to know how you should file your taxes if you are married but living with your parents?
    – feetwet
    Mar 26, 2021 at 16:36

1 Answer 1

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Worst case? Going to jail

Fraud

(4) OFFENSES.—

(a) Any person who engages in a scheme to defraud and obtains property thereby is guilty of organized fraud, punishable as follows:

1. If the amount of property obtained has an aggregate value of $50,000 or more, the violator is guilty of a felony of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

“Property” means anything of value, and includes:

...

3. Services.

“Scheme to defraud” means a systematic, ongoing course of conduct with intent to defraud one or more persons, or with intent to obtain property from one or more persons by false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises or willful misrepresentations of a future act.

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