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How to Check Someone’s Marriage Status in the USA

Does this sound like a familiar dating story?

After weeks of sifting through strange profiles on dating sites, you finally found someone you think is worth dating. The two of you arrange a time to meet up for dinner. You make sure close family and friends know what you’re doing, just to be safe.

When the date happens, you start noticing little details about him, especially on his left hand. It looks like there’s a tan line of a ring around his finger, but you’re not sure if a ring should be there or not. You decide to ask about the ring, but he shyly answers being recently divorced. He doesn’t seem interested in bringing it up again.

Months go by, and the indentation on his ring finger still looks fresh. You start noticing you’ve never been to his house. You never met anyone in his life, not even his family. You find yourself wondering why you haven’t met anyone in his life yet. When you ask, his excuses sound strange. You find yourself wondering if he was ever divorced at all.

You decide it’s time to run a marriage search. First, you try looking for your partner’s name on Facebook, but his name doesn’t show up in any searches. So you decide to try something else. But what do you do next?

Why do you need to find out if someone’s married?

According to Phactual, 51% of all people on dating sites are in some kind of relationship. 11% of all people on dating sites are already married. If someone marries someone who’s already married, the benefits you receive as a spouse become invalid. And if the other party knew they were married, they could get in trouble for bigamy.

Some states won’t let you get married to someone unless they can prove the other person is divorced. Some counties require divorce papers as proof they’re not married to anyone else already.

In the days of social media, it’s not as easy as looking up their Facebook accounts. Many people have multiple Facebook accounts, so it’s not as simple. However, there are many websites available that offer background checks and marriage certificates.

No one wants to find out on their wedding day; the person they planned on marrying was lying to them the whole time they were together. If they were lying about something as big as being married, they could be lying about more things. If your future spouse is giving you any reason to question their marital status, you should do a background check as soon as possible.

If you can prove that you had no idea the other party was married before, you won’t get into any legal trouble. Sometimes, the other party doesn’t know their divorce never finalized. If they were in a common-law marriage, they could be in trouble for bigamy if your fiance didn’t realize they needed to complete a divorce.

Bigamy has some severe consequences. Your marriage will be invalid, and your future spouse could end up in jail. The bigamy law doesn’t only affect heterosexual relationships. It affects same-sex marriages too.

The only way your marriage can remain valid after you find out your future spouse is married would be if their spouse died.

How to check marriage records online

In the digital age, many counties are transitioning from having paper marriage certificates to digital. Meaning that you don’t always have to go to the county where the marriage happened physically. If the county digitized their marriage records, you could search for a bride or groom to see if the party is married.

In many counties, most marriages are considered public records. Anyone can look for the marriage records for any reason. However, there are a few confidential marriage records. If a marriage certificate is sensitive, you would need to be directly connected to the person in question. This could be one of four ways.

  • A parent or a legal guardian of the bride and groom.
  • Law enforcement or any government official who’s doing official business by law.
  • A direct relative to one or both parties of the marriage. For example, they could be a child, sibling, or domestic partner.
  • An attorney who’s representing one of the party, or representing the party’s estate.

Many websites offer background checks for people. They could be credit history, past jobs, criminal records, and marriage certificates. However, some of these websites cost money for their services. The price of some of these websites could vary. It depends on how much information you have on the person in question. You could be facing additional charges if you have little information on the other person.

If you’re looking to find out for free, you can go on the county website and type in the bride or groom’s name. However, if you’re looking for a bride, you may need to see if you can figure out the bride’s maiden name.

Not all marriage certificates are online. If you find yourself in that situation, and you know the county your future spouse could’ve been married, you can physically go to the courthouse and ask for the marriage certificate. If it’s not a confidential marriage certificate, they will let you see it, no questions asked.


If you see the slightest hint of a red flag from your spouse, you want to do a background check on them. Bigamy is a severe offense that could have significant consequences. You don’t want to find out long after the marriage that it was never valid in the first place.

Luckily, many websites can help you find out information on your spouse for free and for a price. If social media isn’t turning up any results, then you still have the resources you need to find out if someone’s married. Anyone can run a marriage search, and it’s a good idea to do so if you find yourself suspicious.

Don’t humiliate yourself by waiting until it’s too late. Your gut is usually right when it’s telling you something isn’t right. If you’re unsure about someone, do a background check on that person as soon as you can.

See More: Where can I find out if someone’s divorced?

Learn about Background Checks

A background check is a then process when a person or other entity verifies that an individual is who they claim to be, and provides an opportunity for someone to check a person’s criminal history, education, and employment history, and other previous activities..... read more