I’ve been a solo-practicing attorney, focusing on family law, for the past seven years. A common theme that I hear in my divorce practice is “I wish I knew”. I wish I knew that my partner was a drug addict before I married him/her. I wish I knew that my partner was on the verge of bankruptcy before I married him/her. I wish I knew that my partner had a criminal history before I married him/her. I wish I knew that my partner had changed his name to hide from his/her past. My wife is also an attorney but went the corporate route. Some of the early work she did as I was building my family law practice revolved around mergers and acquisitions. One of her duties was to handle due diligence for these mergers. It was her job to verify the material facts of the investment. I use to think to myself – marriage is more important than any corporate merger, why don’t we verify material facts in marriage. Why don’t we examine whether our systems are compatible in marriage. We exist as solo individuals for so many years before we get married and during that time we develop systems and models for handling life. Our partners developed their own systems and models. Why don’t we verify some of this basic information? I think the simple answer is because no one was offering the service, at least not the extent that I envision. You could hire a private detective to discover some of this information but that would be under handed. Marriage is about absolute trust and respect. There should be no issue exchanging this information and if someone does that should raise a red flag. If you have to acquire this information underhandedly then your relationship is not ready for marriage.
Marriage has become so complex that we should, at a minimum, know our partners personal, financial, and criminal history before we get married. Do you agree? Have you had a similar experience? Could you have avoided marrying someone that you wouldn’t have if you had known some basic information?