Have you ever wondered if your too-good-to-be-true new crush is actually married? Looking them in the eye and asking straight out is an option, but cheaters tend to be smooth, habitual liars so you might be left with doubts about the truthfulness of their responses.
Whether you’re worried about having your heart broken or falling for a romance scam, knowing how to find out if someone is married is an essential 21st-century dating skill. Marriage records and many related pieces of information are publicly available, you just need some perseverance (and the right tools) to track them down.
How To Find Out If Someone Is Married Through Government Records
One way to check if someone is married is to search for government records. Marriage records are maintained at the county level, so your first stop should be the National Association of Counties website. The County Explorer page has an interactive map you can use to locate the county where your new love lives, or at least narrow it down to the likeliest choices. That’s especially helpful with online romances, if you’re not familiar with the area where your sweetheart lives.
You’ll find a link to each county’s site as well as a telephone number and mailing address in case the county’s records are not online. Make a note of all three, then:
- Look for “records search” or a similar option on the site and click through.
- Type in the person’s full name, or as much of it as you have, and specify that you’re looking for marriage records.
- Try alternative spellings if you get no results.
- Some counties may support a separate search for marriage licenses, so try that next.
- If you get multiple results on a search, click through to see if any of them match the age of your “potential significant other,” or correspond to somewhere you know this person has lived in the past.
If the person you’re interested in has spoken of being divorced, you can search for divorce records the same way to verify that the divorce really happened.
Many counties, especially smaller ones, don’t offer online record searches. In this case, you’ll need to inquire by mail, email or telephone. Be patient if this takes a while; staffing is often minimal in the smaller counties and the same person may have many other things to do. Sometimes the records you’re looking for may also be kept at the courthouse, which will require another phone call or email.
Note: Some counties will charge a nominal fee, but that’s usually just for a certified copy. Also, California offers confidential marriage licenses (a legally binding marriage license not in the public record), but it’s currently the only state to do so.
How To Find Out If Someone Is Married Using a People Search Tool
Searching through public government records is time-consuming, but you’ll usually find a marriage record or marriage license if it exists, provided — and this is a big assumption — you have the correct location and the person’s full name. It gets more difficult to verify someone’s marital status if you only know them online as “Pat from Springfield,” or by an anonymous username. Even people you know in real life may have moved often enough to make finding records tricky or may have used other names in the past. For example, it’s not uncommon for someone to use their middle name in daily life but their full name on official documents.
This is why people search tools, like Spokeo’s, can change the task of finding marriage records from a painstaking slog to a relatively easy process. Here is how to use Spokeo to find out if someone is married:
- Start by selecting the right search type (name, email, phone or address) based on the information you already know about the person. If you only have their name, type it into the search bar and press “Search.”
- Then, scroll through the results to find the person you are looking for. If they have a common name, you may need to look for other identifying factors like location or age.
- Once you locate their Spokeo profile, select “see results”
- This report will contain all the available public records on that person, and possibly, even their marital status. If no marital status is shown, you’ll likely now have the information you need to track down the appropriate marriage and divorce records.
A lack of information can be meaningful, as well. If your potential partner told you a specific name and city where they live, and there are no records in that place for anyone of the right age and sex, it’s grounds for sober thought. While it might not be smoking-gun evidence of deception, it’s still a red flag.
What About Dating and Hookup Sites?
If you have taken part in the online dating scene before, you must know that not everyone is totally 100% truthful regarding their personal lives. As the continued success of Ashley Madison demonstrates, extra-marital affairs are as popular as ever and it’s not unusual to hear about someone’s latest flame turning out to be married with children. When it comes to online dating, doing your research is essential.
While millions are finding love every day on sites like OKCupid, eHarmony, and Tinder, some fall victim to liars who pretend to be divorced but are actually still married. One study suggests that 53% of men and women lie on their online dating profile. While some lies are relatively harmless (fibbing on your height/weight is most common), others can lead to feelings of heartbreak and betrayal that have a lasting impact when it comes to trusting potential partners in the future.
Spokeo’s people search can help with this, often turning up online usernames and their associated social media profiles. Some of them, like Facebook, could also include their relationship status. Another option is to put a few of your crush’s photos into Google’s reverse image search and see what matches you find. If the photo turns out to be a model from a stock-photo site, or if it’s used on a handful of hookup sites (especially under different usernames) you have serious grounds for concern.
You Have the Right To Know
Public records are public for a reason, and you only need a few small bits of information to begin your search. Finding out that your special someone is married may be painful, but you have a right to know who you’re getting involved with. Don’t take their word for it because the power to find out who’s really single and who’s actually married is at your fingertips.