Love works in mysterious ways. And to some, so does the criminal justice system. Most crimes don't stop following those convicted once they're released from jail, and sex crimes especially can haunt perpetrators for years, decades, or their whole life. For those offenders, and the people who love them, sex offender registration can impact everything from residency to employment to marriage.
While inclusion on a sex offender registry is not a per se bar to marriage, restrictions stemming from the registration and other conditions of probation or parole can impact romantic relationships. Here's a look at what you need to know about getting married to a registered sex offender.
Registration & Restriction
Federal law requires convicted sex offenders to register with state authorities and update registration at specified intervals, the duration of which depends on the severity of the offense. Any failure to register or renew could send a sex offender back to prison. Also, depending on the state and the level of the offense, information about a sex offender may be published or otherwise be made available to the public.
Along with the normal probation or parole reporting requirements and behavioral restrictions, registered sex offenders may have limitations placed on where they can live, both in relation to groups of children like schools or recreation centers and in regard to specific children in a home. These residency restrictions can affect the decision to marry or the marriage relationship.
While a registered sex offender may never re-offend, the consequences of the conviction and registry may follow him or her forever. States don't prohibit registered sex offenders from obtaining a marriage license — even current prisoners can get married — but their married life may be impacted by the registry specifically, and probation conditions generally.
If you're concerned about how a potential spouse's sex offender status will impact marriage, contact an experienced family law attorney today.
- Find Family Law Lawyers Near You (FindLaw's Lawyer Directory)
- What Crimes Require Sex-Offender Registration? (FindLaw Blotter)
- Is It Illegal for a Felon to Marry Another Felon? (FindLaw's Legally Weird)
- Can You Get Married in Jail, Prison? (FindLaw Blotter)