My husband and I were watching a movie one evening in which it was suggested that it is illegal to get married in order to avoid an immigrant’s deportation. I don’t know if there is an actual law that prohibits that, but it occurred to me that there should be some sort of law to prevent marriages that take place just for money, because it is my opinion that gold digging marriages are shams and, being as such, they should be made crimes as well to protect innocent and lonely widows and widowers in their eighties and nineties from the clutches of greedy persons who would take them for everything they are worth. I doubt, however, that those types of laws will ever be created, so here are three suggestions that I have come up with instead: 1). requirement of proof of independent means from both the bride and the groom before they can obtain the marriage license 2). Mandatory marital counseling for every couple regardless of age prior to obtaining the marriage license and 3). Changing the wording on the application for the marriage license to weed out the unscrupulous.
I believe that requiring a proof of independent financial means to support the marriage would screen out those would-be gold diggers, because they would be caught before it was too late. A proof of independent means could take several forms, such as paycheck records over a period of time, some form of financial statement showing one’s assets, or bank statements showing current balances to prove that each party was financially capable of supporting the family. My second father, whom I shall affectionately call Dad H#2, was 85 when he married a woman who was 56 and, incidentally, was bankrupt at the time of their marriage. Had this requirement for proof of independent financial means been in place at the time they sought to obtain their marriage license, this might have prevented the marriage and the painful disaster that came along with it.
I believe that mandatory marital counseling is also a good idea, because any qualified marriage and family therapist or minister can, through the proper questioning of the younger spouse, determine whether or not he or she is truly in love with the older person. Counseling (particularly bereavement counseling) is also good for the older spouse who has been married prior to hooking up with the younger person, to ensure that he is not simply replacing the former spouse or marrying “on the rebound.” Counseling in general can reveal potential problems for the couple before they get married so that steps can be taken to ensure that the spouse with the higher income and greater wealth does not get hooked up with a greedy self-serving individual who would take him or her for all they are worth. Counseling would also help co-dependent individuals see that they are precious souls who don’t need the love of another to be accepted or to have worth, and therefore can help them set appropriate limits and boundaries to protect themselves.
Screening questions on the application for a marriage license can be of use as well. I was looking at the application form that my grandparents completed to obtain their marriage license in Allegheny County, PA in April of 1926. One of the questions read as follows: ” Is applicant an imbecile, epileptic,of unsound mind,or under guardianship as a person of unsound mind, or under the influence of any intoxicating liquor or narcotic drug? Has applicant within five years been an inmate of any county asylum or home for indigent persons? Is applicant physically able to support a family?” Not only should questions such as these be included on modern day applications which they are not (at least on my marriage license application they weren’t), but questions pertaining to the financial and emotional ability of the couple to support the family should be included as well, along with a note from the therapist or minister they counseled with.
I know that some will object to my suggestions, because they may believe that my ideas will infringe on their privacy or their freedom to marry whomever they wish, but I think that any kind of legal precaution prior to marriage that would prevent gold digging marriages from taking place would save many dollars in legal fees from divorce or probate hearings , and would also free up the courts for other more serious matters. Therefore, I believe that taking the time at the beginning to really be sure that one is making a safe commitment, before embarking on a journey that could prove perilous to one’s physical and emotional, not to mention financial well-being is worth any inconvenience. As the family member of a victim of gold digging, I have seen and have experienced the emotional pain and trauma of betrayal, and deceit by someone on whom my husband and I had come to depend and to love, in addition to the stress of the legal fight to gain what was rightfully my husband and his brother’s, and I believe that taking the time to be cautious is prudent and will save unnecessary pain and financial loss.
After experiencing first hand the pain and the stress that came with the gold digging marriage of the second wife to Dad H#2, and the break up of families that went along with it, I vowed I would do everything in my power to prevent others from having the same legal battles, betrayals, and family breakups that the second wife of Dad H#2 caused when she married him only for money. I really hope that some will consider the suggestions I have made to prevent future disappointments, frustrations, bitterness, and financial woes that gold digging marriages cause.