Before you take this step, realize that divorce rate among couples where one spouse is incarcerated for one year or more was reported in 1996 by The Aleph Institute as high as 85%. Getting married to a prisoner means you will be jumping through a lot of legal hoops and possibly experiencing a lot of heartache.
- Regulations for marrying a prisoner will vary from prison institution to institution.
- Marriage Packet Request. Have your fiance make an inmate request for a marriage packet. Once the forms are completed by both of you, you will need to send it back to the prison facility with the requested fees. (Approximately $150-$175 via money order)
- Required Documentation. You will need documentation that you are of legal age to marry, that you are a citizen in the country you wish to marry, and perhaps a copy of your birth certificate or other I.D.
- The Family Visiting Coordinator will probably be your contact for arranging the wedding once permission has been received to marry a prisoner.
- Choosing an Officiant. The prison should give you a list of approved pastors to choose from. You will need to know in advance what their fees are and be prepared to pay them at the ceremony with a money order.
- Other Costs. Ask what the cost of the marriage certificate is too, as you will need a money order for that also.
- Witness. You will need a witness, so bring a guest who is on your fiance's approved visitor list. Or you can use one of the inmates who works in the visiting area.
- Time Alone Together. Depending on the prison facility's regulations, you may be allowed time together after the ceremony for wedding pictures and a short, private visit with one another.
- The chaplain at the prison will be a good source of information about getting married there.
- If your relationship with a prisoner has been only through snail mail or email correspondence, don't get married!
- Before getting married, talk with others who have married prisoners so you have an understanding of how difficult this role may be for you.
- Realize that upon your spouse's release from prison, the two of you will each have to make major life-changing adjustments.
- Bottom line. We don't recommend marrying someone who is in prison. If your love for one another is real, you can wait.
What You Need
- Money Orders
- Permission from prison
- Proof of age
- Proof of citizenship