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Marriage on your permanent record
November 12, 2012 8:19 AM   Subscribe

Does a previous marriage show up on a background check?

Here are the specifics. Married in 2006. Separated a year later and since then living separate lives in separate cities but divorce not finalized until early 2012. No-fault divorce, no kids, no acrimony, no fuss of any kind, really.

I'm curious if this would pop up on a background check or not.

Thanks in advance.
posted by fugitivefromchaingang to Human Relations (14 answers total)
 
Are you talking like a cursory web search type background check or an SSBI?
posted by elizardbits at 8:22 AM on November 12, 2012


Did you have a different last name?
posted by it's a long way to south america at 8:25 AM on November 12, 2012


Are you talking like a cursory web search type background check or an SSBI?

The kind an adoption agency would run on wannabe clients.

Did you have a different last name?

No.
posted by fugitivefromchaingang at 8:26 AM on November 12, 2012


Depends on what kind of background check, in my experience. It might show up on a credit check, if you had joint accounts. It might show up on a standard background check, which sometimes has a section of "possible relations." It would most likely show up on a background check that involves a court records search. It would certainly show up on a background check that involves you answering a question about whether you've ever been involved in litigation, unless you lie. And it would absolutely be revealed in a thorough background check that involved interviews with people (say, the kind people go through to get security clearance, or to become a police officer, or to hold any kind of sensitive/important job).


OP: Having had family members recently go through the adoption process: yes, it's likely to come up, probably in the paperwork before any background check gets done. And, it probably goes without saying, that excluding the information will probably be viewed as lying, which will be Not Good.
posted by dpx.mfx at 8:28 AM on November 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


The kind an adoption agency would run on wannabe clients.

Yes it would likely show up. Depending on the agency/situation but you are generally looking at a no-stone-unturned type of check.

It is not a deal-breaker in a lot of cases though.
posted by French Fry at 8:45 AM on November 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


With an adoption agency? Absolutely, you're marriage is registered and there is not a divorced registered. Agencies are tough and very strict. Be honest and be upfront.
posted by Danithegirl at 8:45 AM on November 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


The kind an adoption agency would run on wannabe clients.

Probably. But more importantly, as in any background check: if you don't disclose something you should have and you get found out it is viewed pretty dimly.
posted by MuffinMan at 8:46 AM on November 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yes, it will likely show up. And MuffinMan is totally correct, it is almost always better to disclose upfront than be caught in a lie of omission in these situations.
posted by elizardbits at 8:52 AM on November 12, 2012


Yes. This should not be a big deal unless you lie about it. (Also, take my word for it, good & thorough background checks turn up everything).
posted by murfed13 at 10:38 AM on November 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Absolutely will show up on a thorough adoption agency's background check.
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:40 AM on November 12, 2012


Coworker is going through approval to adopt and agrees that you have to mention the marriage and divorce.
posted by mareli at 11:32 AM on November 12, 2012


It will definitely show up.

I don't know you, but if you're asking this because your current spouse/partner doesn't know that you were previously married, you'll definitely want to address that ahead of time - agencies spend a lot of time checking out how good your relationship is and how you keep it healthy.

If you're wondering whether being divorced will have any impact on adoption, the answer is "not really". Most agencies are aware that shit happens to people over the course of their lives - and they're more interested in how you handled it, what you learnt from it, and how you intend to prevent it from happening again. If the answer is, "We weren't compatible and wanted go our separate ways and just couldn't afford to divorce until recently." they won't even bat an eyelash.

(I was married before, things were definitely NOT easy-going and amicable during the divorce, and I have successfully remarried and we successfully adopted.)
posted by VioletU at 1:30 PM on November 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Extremely likely to show up, yes.

And depending on the jurisdiction, even visitors to the adopting home might be investigated --- a couple years ago, my niece was adopting some foster kids in Massachusetts; when I visited, we first had to provide a full police report ON ME. Investigations like that might seem intrusive, but they're to protect the kids, so yeah, it's worth it.
posted by easily confused at 3:40 PM on November 12, 2012


Domestic or international adoption? We adopted internationally and were asked on our application to provide information about any previous marriages. If there were any, we were asked to provide a certified copied of the divorce or death decree. This didn't come up on any of our official background checks, through the police.

I would be honest about this. If it comes up, and you've been dishonest, the agency might suspect other things you've told them.

A divorce isn't necessarily a negative.
posted by bluedaisy at 7:06 PM on November 12, 2012


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