In How to Tell if Your Date is Lying Part 1, we talked about
how certain behaviors can tip you off to someone who is lying. We also discussed
where you can run a national criminal records check including a search of
registered sex offenders. If you haven't read
Part 1, click here
Now let's move on to other truths you may want to know about your date.
How to Locate Vital Records Including Marriage, Birth and Death Certificates
State level – typically these records are located in the Vital Records section
of the Departments of Health in various states, or at the county or parish where
the actual event took place.
The challenge of this level of search is to try to figure out where the person
was married, but a good rule of thumb is to start in the county in which they
live. There is a 90% chance that both men and women who stray on their spouses,
don't go far away from home to do it.
At the state level, you will get any marriage records that have occurred
throughout the state that are reportable as a public record (versus a
confidential marriage as described below). Keep in mind that if you request any
of this kind of record directly from a state vital records department, you will
have to wait an average of two weeks to six months for the report.
County or parish record level searches are much faster, and you will usually
have copies of the records in your hands within 2 to 3 weeks. If you want to
speed up that process by about 95%, you can use a public record research firm
What Kind of Records are Available?
There are two kinds of Marriage Licenses:
1. Public Marriage Records are available to anyone searching the index to
determine if a person is married, and are available at both the State and local
County or Parish levels.
2. Confidential Marriage Records are just that – confidential. That means they
are only available to the people named on the license, in other words, just the
man and wife can get a copy of these records.
Unfortunately these are not available to the public, but many times a public
records researcher will discover that the searched name appears in the index, so
even when the confidential marriage record is not available, the fact that the
name is in the index lets you know that your subject is in fact married.
To order copies of a marriage certificate located at either the Clerk' or
Recorder's office, you'll need the full name as well as the Jurisdiction where
you believe the license might be located.
Typically the cost is minimal when you order direct this way - normally from
between $20 to $25, with copy costs ranging from $.050 to $10 per certified
copy. Keep in mind that certified copies are especially helpful if you want to
prove that the marriage is real when confronting your liar.
You can also hire a member of the National Public Records Research Association,
and/or Public Record Retriever Network, which are firms that specialize in the
searching of public records and have met the stringent ethical qualifications of
these two professional organizations.
Divorce Records are certified copies of the actual divorce decree and are only
available from the Family Court in the county or parish where the divorce action
In California, you can go to the state but the records are incomplete, and the
best search of these records is at the local jurisdiction where the dissolution
A Certificate of Record from the State includes the names of the parties to the
divorce, the county where the divorce was filed, and the court case number. A
Certificate of Record is not a certified copy of the divorce decree, and does
not indicate whether the divorce was ever finalized in court. Processing times
can easily exceed 6 months.
It's also possible to order these records directly from the county or parish
Family Law Court and/or preferably through a research firm and although it can
cost a few extra bucks, the turnaround time is dramatically reduced.
Divorce records can reveal whether or not there was a restraining order or other
things you may need to know about.
Other Background Information including Financial
Research firms can also find additional information for you including real
estate owned, tax liens, judgments and other civil lawsuits, bankruptcies, as
well as local criminal records all of which go to the character of your
potential date. You'll need a public records research firm for this kind of
Just remember, whether you meet you're your dream girl or guy through an online
dating website, at the singles bar, the health club, the grocery store, your
church, the PTA meeting or even an AA meeting … it's always safer to know the