premarital background check

Understanding the basics of a premarital background check can help individuals avoid unwelcome surprises after the knot is tied.

In fact, knowing everything about someone can help eliminate divorce because if the person has past history they are hiding, it can be discovered beforehand…even without getting their permission.

A background check, when run for personal (not professional) reasons doesn’t require consent. And when combined with the fact that criminal history (unless it’s been expunged or sealed by the court) is public record, this very simple and easy prenuptial trick outlines how to do a background check on someone without them knowing, and is an excellent way to be sure about a person before getting married.

Although this can be accomplished using a variety of do-it-yourself (DIY) methods, potential partners can also contract with a background check agency to run a full screening for a small fee, or by using a 7 day free trial background check offer. This can help eliminate the the fees that can add up when running the checks using public record requests.

The following guide provides all the information required to perform a premarital background check that includes:

  • Criminal history records and convictions
  • Marriage and divorce records
  • Previous addresses
  • And More…

Prenuptial Background Check Vs Marriage Background Check

A prenuptial background check isn’t exactly the same thing as a marriage background check. A prenuptial background check can help a person understand more information about a person to avoid physical harm, financial danger, or emotional damage.

While a marriage background check searches marriage records to ensure that the potential bride or groom doesn’t already have a hidden husband or wife somewhere.

The basic steps of a prenuptial background check include the following:

  • Looking at a person’s identification to determine if they are telling the truth and to identify any aliases
  • Review criminal history and convictions
  • Determine if the person has been in a partnership, marriage, or has been divorced
  • Analyze the person’s financial institutions, such as assets, debts, ad liabilities

In addition to the basic information that a prenuptial background check will find, other background information is typically included in prenuptial background checks.2

  • Social media — Although this is relatively new and modern compared to past marriage and prenuptial checks, social media can now tell a person a lot about another person’s history, relationships, and personality. Social media checks help provide insight into a person’s social profiles, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, and others. A professional background check company can help people find links to social media websites to see if they are telling the truth about their history.
  • Financial information — A person’s prenuptial check will identify if the partner has any issues with taxes, debts, creditors, and crime related to financial activities (i.e., tax evasion). Understanding a person’s financial history can give them peace of mind about who they are marrying. It can provide insight into whether if they need to be careful with joint bank accounts, financial decisions, and salaries for the future.
  • Criminal history — Last but not least, criminal history is typically present on a person’s prenuptial check. This is arguably the most important, as it can tell a person if their future partner has any run-ins with the law. Knowing what a person is arrested for, criminal convictions, time spent in jail, acquittals, or dangerous crimes can provide more information about whether they feel safe spending the rest of their life with this person.

On the other hand, a marriage background check is a tool that can help identify a person’s past marriages, divorces, and other information. One thing to keep in mind is that the information a person can find through conducting a marriage check depends on the person’s scope of search.

The basic marriage search includes identity verification, local criminal convictions, marriage certificates, and divorce records. More detailed searches can include property records, financial records, business records, employment history, and personal reference analysis.

Compared to a prenuptial background check, the most common reason for conducting a marriage background check is to identify if a person has been married or divorced in the past.

Identifying discrepancies or untruths can provide a person with the information needed to see if they would like to stay married or get divorced. Since incompatibility is one of the leading causes of divorce, identifying any red flags can provide a future partner with much-needed information.3

How Do Pre-Marital Investigations Work? (Before Spouse Background Check)

Understanding the basics of how pre-marital background check investigations work can give individuals a timeline and information on the steps of what must be done, when they can expect results, and how they should choose a professional company to conduct the search.

Searchers should consider using this “prenuptial trick” — a special marriage background check to see everything about the person in question before getting married.

There are two ways to go about it.

  1. Use a professional or agency to conduct the investigation.
  2. Use public records and do the investigation yourself.

An agency or professional tends to cost more than the DIY version, but the trade off is time and extensiveness.

There are a few must-do steps of prenuptial investigations that can help searchers find detailed information:4

  • Consultation — The first step of conducting a pre-marital investigation is requesting a consultation with a professional business. Searchers should only use paid services to avoid untrue information or a lack of comprehensive data regarding the subject.
  • Private investigator — The next step is to speak with a private investigator to find more information about the process, the investigation steps, pricing, details, and much more. Some of the most common questions or answers to ask (or answer from) a private investigator to aid the pre-marital investigation include:
    • What is the pricing of the investigative services?
    • Identify the relationship to the subject in question
    • State any beliefs regarding the subject’s history, financial information, or untruths
    • State beliefs on whether the person has been married or divorced in the past, reasons why, and any evidence
  • Investigation — The next step is, to begin with the investigative process. After choosing a business and identifying a private investigator to work with, individuals should sit tight and wait while the investigator does the following:
    • Verifies the identity of the individual
    • Finds local, state, and federal criminal records
    • Finds marriage and divorce records, criminal settlements, or civil settlements
    • Identify court records in which the subject may have been a part of lawsuits or civil suits
    • Find asset records and liability records
    • Identify any business-related records that can show a person’s credibility
    • Find adoption records, such as driving records or records linked to a specific social security number
  • Final Report — The last step of a prenuptial background check is the final report determining if the person is who they say they are, a compilation of the statistical information, and the overall analysis.

Related Reading: How to find old arrest records

Does Background Check Show Marital Status?

A background check is an investigation into a person’s history that can show information about a person’s past, including criminal history, employment verification, education history, credit history, financial information, etc. In short, marital status will only appear on a background check depending on the type of background check conducted.

The most common items that will show up on background checks include the following:5

  • Criminal history — Most background checks, whether state=based or federal-based, will include a person’s criminal history. Although what appears on the criminal record will vary based on the state, due to the FCRA 7-year lookback rule and the state’s specific background check laws, most searchers will be able to see arrests, records, convictions, and sexual offenses, and warrants.
  • Employment history — The second item on background checks includes employment verification, with information like where the person has worked in the past, position held, and any offenses at the job.
  • Credit report — A background check usually shows bankruptcy information, loans, credit history, and various bank account information.
  • Sex offender registry — A person listed on the sex offender registry is available to see by the public. The public has the right to see a person on the registry that is upheld by their local police department and the federal Sex Offender Registry14 to protect themselves and their neighbors.
  • Social Security Number — Most background checks verify a person’s social security number, address, and legal name.
  • Education — Another aspect usually shown on a person’s background check is their educational history, such as college transcripts, grades, and degrees.
  • Personal details — The last item that is typically shown on a background check is personal details (which DOES include marital status).

A person can find a person’s marital status when doing a background check since states require marriage licenses to getting married.6 Marriage records are considered public records and vital records, but the accessibility laws differ by state. In some states, searchers may only get certified copies if they are specific individuals, whereas other states have less stringent laws.7

Does Premarital Status Show Up On A Background Check?

In most background checks, the personal information of a person can be found — which includes marriage and divorce information. Therefore, a person’s premarital status is included in most background checks.

Related Reading: How much does a background check cost?

A premarital background check is a type of investigation that provides detailed information about the subjection question by a person who would like to find out about their past, such as relationships. Premarital Background checks are common for those who wish to investigate an individual before marriage, an arranged marriage, or for parents concerned about their son/daughter and their future partner.8

Why would you conduct a premarital background check? Along with being concerned about a person’s choice in their future partner, a background check to identify premarital status is helpful for those who wish to confirm a person’s identity, check their legal eligibility to get married, identify a criminal background, or identify concerning behavior.9

How To Find Out If Someone Is Married (DIY Pre Marital Investigations)

Sometimes, a person may not have the funds or the resources to use a professional for a prenuptial background check. In this case, they may need to take matters into their own hands to find background information on a specific person. Following these steps can ensure a person can find out if the subject in question is married or divorced.10 

1. Find Marriage Records

The first step is to find marriage records for the person in question. However, although this is obvious, obtaining these records can sometimes be convoluted and a long process. To find marriage records of a person, the searcher needs to know specific information about the individual, such as the legal name, aliases, pre-marriage name, location of the marriage, and time frame.

Plus, certain states, such as New York, make it harder to obtain marriage records. Searchers will next look at the state’s specific stipulation regarding who can access certified copies or view them as public records, before starting their search.

For example, in Bucks County, PA,15 individuals can use the online system by the Office of the Prothonotary to begin a Case Search with the case number, case type, dates, assigned judge, attorney, and other important information.

Users can also fill out a marriage certificate request form16 and send the form to the following address:

Register of Wills and Clerk of the Orphans’ Court

Administration Building, 55 E. Court Street

Doylestown, PA 18901

2. Find Relationship Information

Another way to find information about a person’s past relationships and marriage records is to identify past relationships. Individuals can find past relationship information by using social media, newspapers, job announcements, and other public records.

Finding out more about the person, such as where they lived, their jobs, and their education, can lead a person to their relationships, whether it is teachers, friends, or past partners.

3. Use The Newspaper

Along with the previous step, individuals can read the newspaper to find information based on a person’s past.11 If online sources are not working, such as search engines and social media, newspapers can be exactly what the person needs to find the subject in question.

In this case, searchers can utilize a country’s database of newspapers and records. For example, those who think a person may have been in the newspaper in Philadelphia can use the Free Library of Philadelphia Newspapers and Microfil Center17 to find archived newspapers online or in person. Users can view a chronological or alphabetical listing of newspapers on microfilm since 1710.

Lastly, searchers can find newspaper archives, indexes, and morgues from the Newspaper & Current Periodical Reading Room on the Library of Congress18  website. On this site, users can browse between different newspaper topics, such as the Center for Research Libraries, Google News Archive, and Newspaper Map.

4. Search Divorce Records

Along with searching marriage records, utilizing divorce records can help a person find information on a subject that identifies whether they have had relations in the past. Individuals must identify the state’s specific divorce record proceedings in terms of court and public records to see who can make certified copies and publicly access these records.

For example, in Philadelphia, individuals can find divorce records by accessing the state’s public records through the PA Unified Judicial System.19 This system provides court case information through the UJS Web Portal.19 

Another option in this specific county is to visit the Civil Filing Center in City Hall to obtain divorce decrees20 in person or through the mail by sending a request to:


Office of Judicial Records

Civil Filing Center

Broad & Market Street Intersection

Philadelphia, PA 19107

5. Search Aliases On Social

A searcher can find a person who has used alternative names and aliases by using social media sites. One of the main ways is to use Facebook to find all users and profiles associated with an alias name. Furthermore, search engines let users search various social media sites simultaneously to identify any aliases appearing on multiple sites at the same time.12

6. Hire A Private Investigator

The second way to find a person’s marriage records is to hire a private investigator. Although This is not really doing it by themselves, an individual can use their own resources to find an investigator who can work with their scope, price range, and time frame. A private investigator can help speed up the process and find information quicker, such as previous names, aliases, previous residences, properties owned, etc.

Individuals who wish to find information on a person’s past marriages and divorces could consider conducting a premarital background check. Whether they do it by themselves through online and in-person resources, such as county databases, libraries, or national newspaper archives, searchers can find important information in a premarital background check that can help reduce the high divorce rates.

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