“Every word out of his mouth is a lie,” says Jean Hansen, in reference to Kansas native, Richard Scott Smith and that apparently includes his marital status. Scott was, you see, already married when he and Hansen tied the knot in Las Vegas in 2015.
The problem, which Jean Hansen didn’t discover until after he had ‘…maxed out her credit cards and drained their joint checking account,” was that Scott was already married. And she was not the only woman to be taken to the cleaners by Richard Scott Smith. There were at least four others and perhaps as many as eight.
The case of the Lexena bigamist simply underlines the fact that you can’t be too careful nowadays and that includes matters of the heart. Just because someone isn’t wearing a ring doesn’t mean they’re not married and just because they tell you they have been divorced does not mean it’s true.
It may not even be necessary for them to lie for you to believe they are single. Allowing you to perceive them as available by, say, being active on online dating sites is lying by omission but you are still being conned either way.
Check Marriage Records
In the US, marriage records are typically classified as public records, which means that they are usually available for review if you know where to look for them. Finding marriage records online is certainly possible – but there’s often a catch.
Each state – usually at the county or city level – records various pieces of data to do with the population and activities in their jurisdiction. These points of data are known as vital records, which includes marriage records. Marriage records are typically housed with the county clerk or recorder’s office based on where a marriage license was issued.
One challenge this presents is that the marriage ceremony might sometimes take place in a different location than the place where a license was issued.
For example, some couples may choose to have a civil marriage (i.e. in a courthouse) and then later solemnize the marriage in a church in a completely different county – or even a different state.
Marriage Records Request Requirements
This can be further complicated by the requirements for requesting marriage records. Many require the full name of both parties (including maiden name, where applicable) as well as the date of the marriage.
If you don’t have this information available, it is sometimes possible to request research to be done based on any information you do have, but this is usually something that has to be done in person (rather than online) – and often comes at an additional cost.
Yes – despite most marriage records being classified as public records, they are almost always only available for a fee. Many states also require you to submit your own personal information – sometimes accompanied by a photo ID – in order to complete an order. Getting results back can also take weeks as most records are hand researched and mailed, even if the order is placed online.
Online Public Records Check for Marital Status
Given the challenges associated with trying to find out if someone is married online using the official city, county or even state channels (when available) – as well as the cost, time-frame, and lack of anonymity – many opt to use an online public records search company. With just a name and last known state of residence (you don’t even have to know the state where a marriage took place), these companies will instantly search and pull all available public records – including marriage records.
For less than what you’d typically pay for just one marriage record (around $10), you’ll receive all marriage records on file for a person.
In addition to the marriage records and divorce records, you’ll also receive criminal convictions, bankruptcies, liens and other judgments. Even if the marriage status doesn’t bother you, there’s always the concern that someone who isn’t up front with their marital status could be hiding other, more serious issues from their past. Give it a try – for free! – below.