Premarital background checks can be a sensitive subject among couples and the newly engaged, as they can sometimes imply mistrust or dishonesty on behalf of one partner. However, premarital background checks can be an important part of marriage preparations, and they don’t need to carry such a stigma.
When both partners agree to premarital background checks, they agree to be honest and ensure they are on the same page about potential criminal, financial, and civil history items before the wedding day—this can save a lot of stress and heartbreak down the line.
Below, our guide gives you essential information on premarital background checks, why they are important, and the best way to obtain a premarital background check before you and your loved one say your vows.
What Is A Premarital Background Check?
A premarital background check is a general background check that looks into your partner’s history so you are aware of any issues or things that might have been hidden from you ahead of marriage.
These background checks can return important information such as an unknown criminal history that includes felonies, misdemeanors, arrests, and bench warrants, financial history such as debts and bankruptcies, and even civil information such as previous marriages, divorces, or bench warrants.
Many recently engaged couples agree to complete premarital background checks on each other to ensure they are both honest and telling the truth about their personal histories.
In some cases, one partner will complete a premarital background check on the other if they suspect hidden criminal histories, prior marriage or divorce issues, or credit and financial problems that their partner is hiding. A premarital background check can help bring these issues to light and put both partners on the same page before they commit to each other for life.
Why Are Premarital Background Checks Important?
Premarital background checks are often overlooked or regarded as excessive, but they can actually be beneficial. Premarital background checks are a way to verify that the person you are marrying is who they say they are and that there are no hidden secrets from their past. In extreme cases, these searches can reveal previous criminal histories, discrepancies in what your partner has told you about their education or employment, and even second families or other relationships.
If you want to ensure that you and your partner are being honest with each other and that there isn’t any secret baggage lingering around, premarital background checks are a great way to accomplish this.
Ways To Complete A Premarital Background Check
Once you have decided to obtain a premarital background check, there are a few different ways to go about this process. First, review the background check methods below and select the best option for you and your partner.
Online Search Tools
Online search tools are one of the easiest ways to complete a premarital background check, as they can be accessed from your computer at home. Use a tool like Information.com and input your partner’s name and address. From there, you can run the search and wait for the background check report to be returned.
This report is compiled from public information and utilizes criminal records, civil records, driving history, and other personal information to give you a complete history of your partner for you to verify.
Public Record Checks
As an alternative to online search tools, you can manually search through the public record information available at courthouses or city halls. This may be a good choice if you are looking for a specific piece of background information on your partner and you already know where to find it.
Keep in mind that requesting certain records or manually searching through them can take longer to complete depending on how your local courthouse and records offices work. Also, you might be unable to find specific records if your partner has a history of using alternative or abbreviated names. Manual public records searches will also not show any current or past addresses and any current known friends, relatives, and associates the way an online search tool will.
A private investigator can seem like a more extreme approach to the premarital background check, but some individuals may feel that this is necessary to learn absolutely everything they can about the person they are about to marry.
Private investigators often have more access to public records and other more sensitive documents that the general public won’t. They can also take the stress of searching off of your shoulders. However, private investigators are often very pricy—you can expect to pay between $100 and $200 an hour or a high one-time fee for their assistance.
Ensuring Your Marriage Stays Honest
While it may be unconventional, making sure that you and your partner complete premarital background checks can be incredibly helpful. These basic background checks ensure that you and your partner have been honest with each other and help to uncover any critical information that might have been withheld, such as debts, poor credit history, or criminal records.
By ensuring these checks are completed before your marriage, you can prevent surprises from occurring and head into an honest marriage, which will undoubtedly lead to a happy and lengthy partnership.