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Important Actions to Take when your Husband Goes to Prison

prison visits

  There are many changes that occur when someone goes to prison.  For them, it is like being deposited on another planet.  The culture of incarceration is vastly different from the life we live outside the prison walls.  Right now, your man is learning how to live in a completely different environment.  And though your scenery doesn’t change, your world was turned upside down, too.

Being a partner to a prisoner is challenging

To put it lightly.  On top of dealing with losing your husband to the prison system, you must figure out how to keep going while he is gone.  Additionally, you are now the bridge to the outside world, possibly a single parent, and an advocate for your husband and family.  Each of those issues is a challenge, but they seem impossible when you face all of them simultaneously. While it is tempting to avoid rebuilding your life, you must not not hide from life, or you will miss the opportunity to create a new legacy.

Being a partner to a prisoner is challenging

Today, I want to share practical advice to take if your partner is incarcerated. These actions will empower your family to live life while your husband is in prison. Believe me, I know this is not easy (read my story here).  I know these are not things you WANT to do, but they are things you MUST do to keep your family safe and secure.  When your husband goes to prison, you become a social widow.  You do not have the luxury of depending on him for the routine things of life.  Everything is now your responsibility.  

parenting in prison

"Before I share the critical actions you must take, I need to encourage you that YOU CAN DO IT. "

It will not be easy, but you are up for the challenge.  This season requires to ignite the 4 Cs of competency: Capability, Confidence, Control, and Courage.  You are capable of facing these challenges and overcoming them.  You will grow more confident with each day you take control of your future by identifying daily goals to accomplish. If you want to make it, you must find the courage to face each obstacle and conquer it.  

Here is a list of important actions you must take now that your husband/partner is in prison:

  1. If you are on any government assistance, you need to let them know your husband is no longer in the home.    
  2. Get a Power of Attorney (POA). Contact your bank and make sure you can sign documents on your own.  If you are unable to, be sure to include “Banking” on the POA.
  3. Include the Bureau of Motor Vehicles so you can purchase tags/license plates
  4. Include school(s) as you may need to advocate for your (or his) childrenTalk to your husband about a will and have one drawn up.  You need to document what would happen to your children and belongings (as well as his stuff!) if something happened to you. Do not ignore this step. I know several people who did not document their wishes and died unexpectedly.  Their loved one came home to nothing because friends and family either took everything or disposed of it.
  5. Apply for assistance if you need it.  If your husband was the provider for your family, you might need a little help to get back on your feet.  Do not let pride stop you from applying for financial assistance.  Resources like Medicaid or food stamps are there to help until you get your footing to provide for your family.
  6. Cancel subscriptions that are not yours.  There is no reason to pay for subscriptions that you are not using. Here is one app that helps you discover your subscriptions.
  7. If you are renting and his sentence is longer than the lease, change the lease to your name only.
  8. Change the utilities into your name
  9. Stop all recurring charges that belong to your partner. again, using apps like Trueb
  10. Ask your husband if he has any debt or bills that he has been paying. Ask him to write a letter to his creditors to let them know that he cannot make his regular payments due to incarceration.  You can also call on his behalf if you have included these agencies on the Power of Attorney.
    1. Set a timeline for any deep cleaning you might need to do.  If your partner is in prison for years, talk with him about what he wants you to keep for him.  

Addressing these issues as soon as possible will save you a lot of stress in the days to come.  Remember- Proper preparation prevents poor performance. 

I am rooting for you!