At least three or four times a year we handle calls from potential clients who are wondering if they are dating a married man.
It’s not as simple as one might think to learn a person’s marital status in California. There is no single database of marriage and divorce information in California. There used to be a marriage index, but this only had records from about 1960 to 1985. You probably have a question list of things to consider: Does he ever have me over to his place, how come I never meet his family members, why is he so tight-lipped with information?
To look for marriage records you have to go to the county recorder’s office and search under groom’s name or bride’s maiden name. You might get resistance from clerks but by law you are allowed to access this information. They also have “confidential marriage” licenses in California but by law, clerks are also required to confirm or deny when you give them a name to search. For a confidential marriage, you will not be allowed to make a copy of the license.
Another way to gain marriage insight would be to look at the name on the property, if your date is a home owner. A search of property might show that it’s still jointly owned. You can do these property searches yourself, sometimes for free online. The person might give you the excuse that the divorce is final but property has not been split.
We could run a database looking for names and ages of people at a certain address. You might see someone with the same last name and about the same age as your date at an address. Could be a relative, could be his wife.
A divorce file will be in the civil section or family law division at the county courthouse. Many counties have an index of family law cases online but you won’t be able to read documents unless you view the file in person. You will have to search county by county to find such divorce filings. We start by running an address history for a subject and then looking in those counties where he has lived.
In rare cases, a divorce could be filed outside of a county where a person lives. So you might want to check in neighboring counties.
These steps are basic measures how you could look for information and what we sometimes do to get started. There are additional steps, including surveillance.