Private investigators verify marital status when conducting a background check. For many people on the dating scene, “are you married” unfortunately isn’t a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ question. Because marriage records are handled at the county level, finding them can take a fair bit of digging around. Here are some tips to get you started.
1. Do some dating detective work.Find out where the wedding took place. This can be done with a little creative detective work: If he says he’s divorced, you could say that you always thought a Vegas wedding would be cool, and ask him if his first marriage was crazy or traditional.
2. Search the web.Even if you don’t know every detail, a simple search of the groom’s name and ‘wedding’ could have the couple’s wedding page, while plugging in ‘registry’ could bring up details of gifts (registries normally stay active for a couple of years after the wedding). An address finder like Whitepages.com usually lists other occupants of the home – check for an opposite-sex person with the same last name.
3. Go to court. Marriage records are kept on file with the County Registrar, and many counties allow you to view them during daylight hours. To get an official copy of a license, you normally need to prove that you are acting on behalf of the married couple, a family member, or a law enforcement official conducting official business. Everyone else has to fill out a records request for an ‘informational’ copy, and send it (with the fee) to the state’s Vital Records Department. This can sometimes be a different name; in California it’s called ‘California Department of Public Health’. Then you wait – and times can vary from a few weeks to six months. Some states, like California, throw in another twist by allowing couples the option to have a confidential divorce: In this case, only the two people who were married can request copies.
4. Pay for it.If you’ve got a date Friday night and can’t wait for an answer, Companies like USSearch and Intelius charge a $39.95 flat fee to pull up a background check that includes previous and current addresses, marriages and divorces, bankruptcies and civil judgements.
5. Don’t forget destination weddings. With vacation weddings becoming more and more popular, more and more marriages licenses are being issued away from a couple’s home state. Could he have had a beach wedding (Florida has no residency requirements for couples who want to get married) or done a drive-through in Las Vegas? Marriages performed in other countries are generally legal as long as they don’t break U.S. state laws.
6. Did he divorce? Marriage records are handled by the County Registrar/Clerk, but divorces normally go through the Superior Court. Look for open civil cases with the groom’s last name in the county where the marriage took place – and if you aren’t sure, check surrounding counties.