Are Background Checks Before Marriage a Violation of Trust?

Congratulations! You are engaged, in a serious relationship, or otherwise considering getting married. Before you get far down the road of wedding planning, you might be considering all the serious financial and personal implications of getting married. Certainly, there are a number of things to consider when getting married, but is one of those things conducting a background check on your soon-to-be spouse? Today, we’re talking about the ethical considerations to keep in mind when deciding on whether to run a background check.

Honesty is the best policy

A relationship entails responsibility, and you, as an individual, have a responsibility for your own safety and well-being. However, this self-responsibility should not override the need to build a strong, open, and trusting relationship with your partner. After all, a solid marriage is based on trust and open, two-way communication channels between both parties.

Ideally, background checks before marriage should be conducted honestly and transparently. This honesty should extend to both partners. In other words, if you wish to run a background check on a partner, it should be reasonably expected that they will be able to do the same for you. These conversations might not be the most romantic, they might be downright uncomfortable! But these important discussions are vital to the long term health of any relationship, especially before taking the next step into marriage.

We recommend having an open conversation with your partner and obtaining their permission before running a background check. Be transparent about your intentions, what type of information you’re looking for, and the information you are willing to share about yourself in return. This is a healthy, ethical way to run a background check on a partner at any time in a relationship. is a paid background check service that uses online web searches and automatically searches websites, records, and databases to generate a comprehensive, easy-to-read report on someone. This information is pulled from public records found on online databases, social media, websites, and government records.

What information you should be looking for in background checks

Once you are married, your finances become irrevocably tied together. You assume any bad debts, poor credit ratings, evictions, or bankruptcies as your own once you’re married. Understanding the financial baggage you are both bringing into your relationship can help to mitigate potential issues down the road while looking to make joint purchases such as a house or vehicle. It is also important to understand your partner’s relationship with money and spending habits prior to getting married and making a financial commitment to each other.

Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, only an accredited and registered Credit Reporting Agency is permitted to run a credit report and full credit background check. This report will show important financial information like a credit score breakdown, current debts, and debts that have gone into collections, bankruptcies, evictions, and other negative financial consequences of poor money management. We recommend asking your partner to run a credit report on themselves as there are a number of free or low-cost options available.

Red flags in a background check

Criminal and civil court records

One of the primary advantages of a public background check is the ability to scour public records to create a report of criminal and civil court records. These public databases hold vital information about your partner’s past, such as previous criminal charges, sex offender status, and litigations brought against your partner in civil court.


When considering a background check on your partner before marriage there are a number of ethical and logistical factors to consider. Whether or not you choose to obtain your partner’s consent prior to conducting a background check, a solid marriage should be built on trust and understanding of each persons’ unique life perspectives and circumstances. If you are considering a background check as your only source of trustworthy information from your partner, perhaps the problem is not the background check at all.

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