Getting a background check on a possible partner before going out on a first date is a common-sense practice that most people are familiar with. But not many think of a background check before marriage as part of a standard marriage process.
Hopefully, before someone has broached the topic of marriage, they have already established enough of a foundation of trust that they would have disclosed everything their partner needed to know ahead of time.
However, the reality of the world we live in is that there are deceptive people out there, some of whom are predatory in their relationships. Just as getting a blood test and signing a prenuptial agreement is a common marriage prerequisite, background checks before marriage aren’t unheard of.
What You Need to Know About Getting a Background Check Before Marriage
Getting Both Partners Checked
First and foremost, being subject to a background check has nothing to do with one’s transparency and honesty. It’s only fair that both partners should get a background check. You can even treat it as a fun event, like getting your horoscope read.
The bottom line is that your prospective partner might not even know about potentially disastrous information showing up from their past. If you check them and give them a chance to answer for or correct their record, you may be doing them a favor.
Financial Reasons for a Background Check
A credit check is the most important part of a background assessment when it comes to potential financial impact. Married partners will be pooling their funds and debts, so it’s important to be sure your partner has some sense of responsibility. Bad credit ratings will affect future loans, insurance payments, mortgages, landlord lease terms, and even employment.
This isn’t to say that just because your partner’s credit score is low, that means you have to call it off. But “forewarned is forearmed,” as the conventional wisdom goes. Knowing how your credit rating will impact future necessities and whose credit record is the best can help you plan ahead for details like whose name the family car goes in.
Studies have shown that out of all the causes of marital strife, fighting over money and income dispersal is the leading factor. So a financial profile ahead of time can help you iron out some potential issues.
Various other checks can ensure against some common forms of fraud and deception or even unintentional legal snags. Here are a few of the issues a background check can reveal:
- An identity change: Some people do dump their old lives and move somewhere to start over again, sometimes without completely severing their past ties.
- Legal eligibility to get married: This can be an honest mistake, such as when someone believes their prior marriage was annulled or when immigration issues arise.
- Criminal background: A partner who is hiding a criminal background from you is a definite red flag, especially if they have a domestic violence record.
- Patterns related to addictive behavior: DUIs and narcotics convictions indicate substance abuse. Excessive debt and erratic spending could suggest gambling addiction or a tendency to get wrapped up in Ponzi and multi-level marketing schemes. A partner might honestly be in denial about this, normalizing it as “everybody does it,” so they may not think it worth mentioning.
- Excessive litigation: Does your partner always seem to be going in and out of court? They could be legitimately unlucky people, or they could have lives fraught with drama and bad judgment. A long record of civil actions and judgments could indicate a person who is antisocial, has attempted or committed fraud, or simply has some off-beat issues with adjusting to society.
Your Standing As the Investigator
Background checks are perfectly legal for private citizens to perform on each other at any time. Your scope is limited to less than what an employment screening or loan application would uncover. On the other hand, you have more liberty.
You can perform the check without notifying your partner, can take into consideration any personal qualifications that matter to you in a life partner, and can freely apply your own judgment regarding the outcome.
John Brooks is a professional blogger & content developer who loves to write on various niches- including family, parenting, marriage, divorce and many more. He currently writes for timtab.com and has been writing for the past several years and has made a good name for himself in the internet community. www.timtab.com