How to Get Married in Prison in California

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Maintaining a relationship with an incarcerated significant other can be difficult; however, it can really test the strength of your relationship. Many choose to take their relationships to the next level by marrying their incarcerated partner. Marrying a prisoner takes a fair amount of time, paperwork and dedication, but it is possible to do.

Things You'll Need

  • Witnesses
  • Forms of identification (license, passport, social security card, birth certificate)
  • Marriage packet from your partner's prision
  • Make sure that you and your prisoner are both fully dedicated to getting married. You or your prisoner will also need to find out what the marriage requirements and regulations are for the particular prison where your mate is serving time. This will vary from prison to prison. While many states do not allow marriage with prisoners on death row, in California you can marry a death row inmate.

  • If you meet the basic requirements to be married, then have your prisoner request a marriage packet from a prison supervisor or supervisor. You will need to get copies of several forms of identification to prove that you are of legal age to marry and are a United States citizen. This can be a driver's license, a birth certificate, a social security card, a passport or any other form of government-issued identification. The prison may require you to have two or more of these items.

  • The marriage packet will include most of the paperwork needed to pursue the marriage. The documents will need to be filled out by both you and your inmate. You will also be expected to pay a paperwork fee that should be included with the application. The marriage packet should also include the steps needed in order to pursue a marriage at that particular California prison. The paperwork fee for this application can range anywhere between $100-175 as of May 2010. After the forms are completed, send them back to the prison (the application should have an address listed on the application). After you send this, you will have to wait until your application is processed, which can take weeks and sometimes even a month or two.

  • The prison will contact you once your application has been accepted. Usually after this you will have the options of choosing a wedding date. Although you will not be able to choose an outside pastor, the prison will provide you with a list of available pastors who can marry you. This will also include the rates the pastor charges for marriage. After this you will need to obtain a marriage license in the state of California before a judge. The prison should provide you with the appropriate documentation in order to obtain your marriage license.

  • You will need a witness or two at your wedding, and they must be approved on your inmate's visitors list. You also have the option of having inmates as witnesses. After the ceremony is complete, the prison may allow you to spend some time together with your new spouse.

Tips & Warnings

  • Stay organized while going through this process. Keep copies of all your documents and put them in a safe place. This will make your marriage process much easier.
  • Be aware that approximately 85% of people who marry prisoners get divorces. It is very common for couples to end their marriages months or years after the incarcerated partner is released.

References

  • Photo Credit rings jewelry marriage image by Pali A from Fotolia.com
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