A successful marriage is built on trusts, and many soon-to-be spouses balk at the idea of getting a background check on their future spouse because they see it as a sign that they don’t trust their partner. If your partner has been honest with you, then a background check will only provide peace of mind that you know everything you need to know about their past. If there is a surprise on the background check, then it is far better to resolve that before you are married than to be blindsided by it after the nuptials.
A background check can be done online in a matter of minutes, and the cost is nominal for the peace of mind it will bring. Use a site like checkpeople.com for a comprehensive background report. The background report will provide any criminal record history, marriage, and divorce records, bankruptcies, and other information that should be fully disclosed before you enter into a marriage contract.
How do I talk to my partner about a background check?
If you are planning to marry someone, you should already have an open and honest relationship. Doing a background check isn’t something you have to do secretly. Instead, it can be treated like a logical and responsible step in planning your wedding. Suggest to your partner that the two of you set down together and each order a comprehensive background report. When presenting it as something you should both do, you are telling your partner that you have nothing to hide and that you trust they don’t either.
Running periodic background checks on yourself is a good safety idea to make sure there is no erroneous information about you online and to check for signs of identity theft. You can suggest to your partner that it is something you would like to do before marriage make sure you are both safe from fraud or identity theft.
If your partner has an unexpected negative reaction, try to understand the reasons why. Have them explain what their concerns are and discuss the topic calmly and reasonably. If they seem unduly upset, unlike themselves and unwilling to participate in the background check, it should give rise to the suspicion that they may be hiding something. You can then decide whether to proceed with the background check.
If you feel insecure about talking to your partner about a background check, you need to do some deep introspection and understand why you feel that way. If you have reason to feel unsure about proceeding with a background check on your partner, then there is already a problem in the relationship that needs attention before you commit to marriage.
Red flags on a background check
It is not uncommon for a background check to include some innocuous information that you and your partner may not have discussed. However, certain red flags are concerning if they have not been brought to light before the background check. Potential red flags include:
- Credit problems—if your partner has been dishonest or misleading about their financial situation, you should be concerned. Marriage is a contract, and you will be pooling both resources and debt when you get married. Their credit rating will impact your ability to buy a house, insurance premiums, and even the ability to rent a place to live. Financial problems can cause serious problems in a marriage, so it is important that you and your partner have an honest and open discussion about your current financial status and future financial goals.
- Criminal background—If you, or your partner, have a criminal history, then it should have been discussed before planning a wedding. If your partner has hidden their criminal background from you, it should be a definite warning sign. Be particularly cautious if the criminal background reveals domestic violence or a history of violent behavior.
- Addictive behavioral patterns—Multiple DUIs or narcotics convictions that your partner has not revealed could indicate a substance abuse problem they are hiding.
- Hidden or secretive social media profiles—If your partner has active social media profiles that they have not told you about, you need to understand why.