POSTED: Wednesday, October 20, 2010 - 5:20pm
UPDATED: Saturday, December 11, 2010 - 1:01pm
EL PASO - Some people will do anything for more money, even get married. Soldiers at Fort Bliss are promising women full health benefits, but they're not looking for love. They're looking for cash.
"In Texas there is no such thing as a contract marriage. There is marriage and that's it," Attorney Amy Nichols said.
Nichols takes on a lot of military divorce cases, but even she was surprised when we told her what we found. Fort Bliss soldiers looking for contract marriages on the popular website Craigslist.com. The military member promises free health insurance, dental insurance and student aid to whoever will marry him. In return, he gets a family housing allowance for a bigger paycheck, and even separation pay if he's deployed overseas.
"I would suggest for military members, if they're thinking of doing this, that it is a bad idea," Nichols said.
Nichols says once you're married there's no turning back. Unlike soldiers who are committed and in loving relationships, the contract marriage is bound to end. When it does, Nichols says, the spouse could be eligible for separation pay and the soldiers retirement benefits.
"They certainly, for what reasons I can't understand, are putting a lot of their hard earned money on the line for a relationship that they get no other benefit for."
A spokesman for Fort Bliss said there was no one who would talk to us on camera about contract marriages. So in the meantime, we don't know if they are doing anything to stop your tax dollars from being wasted in sham-marriages, or if soldiers are warned that there is no such thing as a contract marriage for the benefits.
"If they entered it knowing what they are doing, then they knowingly entered into marriage," Nichols said.
An interesting side note to this story, Nichols said military divorces are on the rise.