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Is it possible H was married/ had family before me?

(354 Posts)
womaninatightspot Fri 01-Mar-19 12:08:00

Already separating but he was abusive (verbal gaslighting etc.). Suspect having proof he's a liar would be good for my mental health. Found a birth certificate among his papers from before we were married. His name listed as father and informant (so would have to be married to mother right?) Same surname as the mother.

It is a common name and he's from a large family who I've never met so can't ask them (I know major red flag territory.) Can I use this to search for a marriage certificate and confirm the date of birth and know for sure. We are married and declared no previous marriages when filling out wedding licence application. Do they double check these things?

Would rather him not know I know if that makes sense. I don't want to confront him.

LIZS Fri 01-Mar-19 12:12:12

You might want to check for a divorce certificate to ensure your marriage was legitimate. Did any family or friends attend your wedding? There should be addresses listed as well as names. If you are planning to divorce you could take a copy and ask your solicitor.

FizzyGreenWater Fri 01-Mar-19 12:16:14

Yes, yes yes.

You need to check - sounds as if he could well have still been married if he didn't declare anything.

You can use the parent names to search for a marriage certificate I'd imagine?

Otterseatpuffinsdontthey Fri 01-Mar-19 12:17:36


FizzyGreenWater Fri 01-Mar-19 12:17:37

If you're divorcing and you find out he is already married, you could indeed simply pass the information to your solicitor to deal with and have no direct contact at all except to turn up at court to see him go down for bigamy and deception

womaninatightspot Fri 01-Mar-19 12:25:22

Loads of family my family/ joint friends came to our wedding no one from his family.

There are addresses but this is more than 20 years ago.

How can I look up marriage certificates.

AornisHades Fri 01-Mar-19 12:26:46

Are you going for a clean break? If it turns out your marriage isn't valid would that change the finances?

If you want to pm me the names I can check for a marriage on a genealogy site.

TFBundy Fri 01-Mar-19 12:27:01 is your friend - sign up for a free trial. Birth, marriage and death certs from years back.

womaninatightspot Fri 01-Mar-19 12:28:09

Crikey what's the penalty for bigamy? Would still have to have contact for dc

HollowTalk Fri 01-Mar-19 12:29:15

Wow. Nobody from his family showed up - didn't that ring any alarm bells at the time? It's easy to search on Ancestry - as a PP said, get a free trial for a month (don't forget to cancel it) and get searching.

Aprilshowersarecomingsoon Fri 01-Mar-19 12:33:10

I had no family at any of my weddings!!

womaninatightspot Fri 01-Mar-19 12:33:53

Will do the ancestry thing this afternoon have to pop out. Erm if he was a bigamist would I be legally obligated to report it. Rather the DCs dad was not in prison tbh.

Lwmommy Fri 01-Mar-19 12:34:12

womaninatightspot Fri 01-Mar-19 12:36:31

It did ring alarm bells but he'd had big falling out with family due to something was explained early on in relationship. They sounded like crazy people anyway so was rather glad not having to meet them at the time. Unsurprisingly managed to engineer falling out with my family over time so I don't see them.

The benefit of hindsight...

lyralalala Fri 01-Mar-19 12:46:09

To register a birth he'd have to be married to the mother, or the other incapacitated and unable to register the birth herself.

Ancestry is a good option. Depending on the area some have good listings online. I understad you might not want to post too much detail but if you can post the area folks might be able to point you in the right direction.

It's a pity it's not a Scottish birth cert as they have the parents marriage date on them.

LakieLady Fri 01-Mar-19 12:46:35

Blimey, if your suspicions are right you may not be legally married!

I wonder if it's possible to search registers online these days. You used to have to go to the register office or to St Catherine's House in London and do it in person if you didn't have the full details. It was easy though, the indices were alphabetical and (iirc) each one covered a quarter, so you could start a few months before the registration of the birth and work backwards.

It certainly sounds very fishy, but I think you need to find out because the implications for you financially could be significant, eg if you're married you may be entitled to a share of his pension, savings etc.

If he was married, I'd bet he still is, otherwise why would he lie about it when he married you?

Collaborate Fri 01-Mar-19 12:47:06

Look at your marriage certificate. It might say, for his status, "previous marriage dissolved" or "widower". If it describes him as a bachelor then he must have declared he was never married before.

They don't check the truth of a statement like that, although they do check the decree absolute or a death certificate.

SpeakUpXXWomen Fri 01-Mar-19 12:51:41

You have to find out if he divorced or is a widow. Also is there a sibling to your dc out there? What does your solicitor advise?

NaToth Fri 01-Mar-19 12:55:19

You can search online on Ancestry. Your local Library will probably have a subscription. Wishing you well OP. This certainly sounds suspicious and a quick check on Ancestry was enough to find out that DD’s BF was married and hadn’t thought to tell her.

Raspberry10 Fri 01-Mar-19 12:57:01

You can DM me the names, I have an Ancestry sub. Divorces aren’t online though but I can check for her dying.

lizzzyyliveson Fri 01-Mar-19 12:57:40

I don't think you can decide to conceal the evidence if you find he is still married. There will be long-term implications for you re your pension entitlement and property. Put the certificate into your solicitor's hands and let them investigate.

LondonBelongsToMe Fri 01-Mar-19 12:58:20

I would investigate before even discussing with your solicitor. If he is still married to someone else and your marriage is therefore not valid, that will massively change the basis of a financial settlement as you would not be entitled to any spousal maintenance, share of pension etc - the only thing you would be entitled to is your share of any jointly held property (inc £) and child maintenance if applicable

Hittapotamus Fri 01-Mar-19 12:59:32

Would it help your divorce if you weren't legally married in the first place?

ThatssomebadhatHarry Fri 01-Mar-19 13:01:26

Good luck OP.

MulticolourMophead Fri 01-Mar-19 13:01:31

OP can you take a pic of the birth certificate without arousing suspicion? The details there could help.

NaToth Fri 01-Mar-19 13:01:37

Hopefully, you've taken a photo of the certificate on your phone ...

Fiveredbricks Fri 01-Mar-19 13:01:59

I'd search straight away OP

Fiveredbricks Fri 01-Mar-19 13:02:51

And keep hold of the certificate tbh or go and request a duplicate from the registry office.

Sardonicsnape Fri 01-Mar-19 13:06:23

friend - sign up for a free trial. Birth, marriage and death certs from years back.

Marriage, birth and death certificates are not available for people who are still living on ancestry.

Have you tried googling for birth announcements?

carrotflinger Fri 01-Mar-19 13:06:33

Sounds like he could have been married before - but he might have divorced. Not sure why he then didn't declare this when you married - maybe he had lost his divorce certificate or something. Maybe he just didn't want to tell you because he was too ashamed of the circumstances or something like that.
I'd mention it to your solicitor who is dealing with the divorce.

HollowTalk Fri 01-Mar-19 13:07:45

Look out for yourself.

Financially would you be better off if you weren't married to him? If he's been a sponger all his life and you've paid for everything, then I'd turn over every document in the UK to see whether he'd been married before.

If you would be worse off in terms of splitting money and pensions, then I would do the search but keep quiet about the results.

SummerInSun Fri 01-Mar-19 13:08:46

Anyone is entitled to apply for a copy of any birth, death or marriage certificate. The link has already been posted further up the thread, but again it's: That's the most reliable way to do it.

MakeItAmazing Fri 01-Mar-19 13:09:48

I have only read the OP so apologies if anyone else has said this but my concern for you is that if your marriage isn't legal you won't be entitled to financial award as you're not his wife. And much as it pisses me off how it always seems to be the wife, woman, mother, being awarded half the money - the man having to give it to her - instead of it an accepted normal thing that money really is shared money when married and no one gives the other anything, if you are not legally married …

MakeItAmazing Fri 01-Mar-19 13:12:06

WTF does Q mean ? hmm

LiveThisLife Fri 01-Mar-19 13:16:01

It absolutely sounds like he was married and has precious children. Definitely information for your solicitor and to let them advise you on what to do next. It’s not tour job to report him or hold off reporting him, let them deal with it. Well done for getting out.

Magenta82 Fri 01-Mar-19 13:23:50

Not true @Sardonicsnape
I'm currently trying to apply for Irish citizenship and using Ancestry was able to find UK birth records for me, my brother, my parents, various degrees of cousins, all of whom still live, along with a similar amount of coverage of marriage records.

One thing I did find was the record of my grandparents' marriage appears to be dated after my father's birth. I have applied for a copy of the certificate, I need it anyway but will be interested to find out if it is a mistake or a scandal.

mummmy2017 Fri 01-Mar-19 13:29:15

Try looking on social media for the child's name, also check if they have their mum listed....
If you have a copy of your husband's CV. It may show you the area he worked at the time.

Norrisskipjack Fri 01-Mar-19 13:30:03

Tread carefully OP, if you discover you’re not actually married you could be shooting yourself in the foot. Find out as much as you can before talking to the solicitor and if you find out you’re not legally married, decide whether it’s absolutely vital for anyone else to know what you know...

loulou0987 Fri 01-Mar-19 13:33:18

Ancestery online? Is the town the same as yours?

diddl Fri 01-Mar-19 13:36:07

"It might say, for his status, "previous marriage dissolved" or "widower"."

You'd think that Op would have noticed either of those & remarked on it though.

AcrossthePond55 Fri 01-Mar-19 13:36:08

I think you need to find out the potential status of your marriage under UK family law if he was already married.

You need to find out if the UK recognizes 'putative marriages'. A putative marriage is one where at least one party (in this case, you) enters into the marriage in good faith believing it was a proper and legal marriage. If the UK does recognize putative marriage, then usually the wronged spouse retains all the rights of a true marriage when it comes to property, pensions, etc. Thus, in a divorce you would still have rights to a settlement and a share of 'marital' assets.

If the UK does not recognize putative marriage, then what you have is a 'void' or 'voidable' marriage. This is one that the law says has been invalid since Day One and normally the Courts simply say "Too bad, so sad, you lose" and the innocent spouse walks away with nothing (unless their name is on the asset in question).

I'd clear this issue up with a different solicitor to the one you have retained for the divorce. If you find you have a 'void or voidable' marriage or if UK law doesn't protect the rights of a putative spouse, it will then be up to you to inform your divorce solicitor if you so choose.

JinglingHellsBells Fri 01-Mar-19 13:36:11

IME Ancestry online is not always 100% accurate. It depends if your details were uploaded and I think there is an option to have them removed - it's not a government or legal site.
I checked my entry some time ago and there was an error in it for something and I contacted them.

womaninatightspot Fri 01-Mar-19 13:37:03

Am back town not the same as mine in England.

cottonwoolbrain Fri 01-Mar-19 13:38:57

Magenta82 We found this with a deceased great uncle - marriage of parents after his birth.

Eventually a great aunt told us that he was her half brother. She only found out when her mother told her after her father die but swore her to secrecy until after great uncle died so he never knew. Her father who deeply loved her mother had married her to rescue her from the shame (the real father being unwilling to step up) and they'd moved to another town. Quite romantic really. Families have so many secrets don't that.

OP I hope you find there's a simple explanation for all of this

Dollyparton3 Fri 01-Mar-19 13:40:05

We registered to marry recently and had to declare previous marriages and supply decree absolute paperwork as part of the application. If this doesn't ring any bells with you as part of the process I understand your grounds for suspicion

MulticolourMophead Fri 01-Mar-19 13:40:18

OP, you do need to find out whatever you can.

Because if he's the dickish type, then he can spike your wheel by revealing the marriage in an effort to avoid paying out. If you know , you can't be blindsided.

Catsingangs Fri 01-Mar-19 13:41:34

Have a search here op, see what you can find

womaninatightspot Fri 01-Mar-19 13:45:17

Don't have a solicitor at the moment as we are separating. I'm keeping the house decent maintenance. There is an argument for not rocking the boat.

womaninatightspot Fri 01-Mar-19 13:47:30

I filled out the form for marriage licence and handed it in. Definitely said no previous marriages. Arrg my email address is apparently already registered with ancestry. Must of previously used a free trial

TheWernethWife Fri 01-Mar-19 13:47:49

I have access to Ancestry, you can check marriages up to 2005.

Everhopeful Fri 01-Mar-19 13:51:33


you can use FreeBMD (google it - I don't know if it goes up to 2005 like Ancestry, but you don't need to join anything) and just put in all the information you have available. What it doesn't show is divorces though, but I'm not sure Ancestry would either.

Good luck

SlangBack Fri 01-Mar-19 13:52:57

Arrg my email address is apparently already registered with ancestry. Must of previously used a free trial

Or he has, to see whats on him.

SalliSunbeem Fri 01-Mar-19 13:55:10

Have I missed something, what makes you even think he was already married when he married you?

HollowTalk Fri 01-Mar-19 13:57:20

Use a different email address?

HollowTalk Fri 01-Mar-19 13:58:29

Because in the opening statement, Salli, she said: "Found a birth certificate among his papers from before we were married. His name listed as father and informant (so would have to be married to mother right?) Same surname as the mother."

OVienna Fri 01-Mar-19 14:01:32

I wonder if a previous, non-dissolved marriage would emerge during the course of your own divorce in any case? I am guessing the court would do a search then and it could become clear there are other marriage docs for a person of the same name, DOB, parents etc. I think you do need to know.

Is the house in your name only at this time?

CatinMyLap Fri 01-Mar-19 14:02:30

I agree with comments before about treading carefully, do not let him suspect a thing here!

AcrossthePond55 Fri 01-Mar-19 14:03:11

I'd still see a solicitor pronto, simply to find out the legal status of a bigamous marriage as regards to the rights of the innocent party. Once you know, you can decide to pursue verification of his possible marriage or let it lie until after you are divorced.

And as far as what he's promised you (the house etc), you can't trust him one inch. You need to be sure of your legal position, since even in the most amicable of divorces some perfectly nice people turn into absolute shits when it comes to money.

contrary13 Fri 01-Mar-19 14:04:17

I think they take it on trust that no one would be so stupid as to lie about never having been married before, given that there's a huge penalty for being caught out as a bigamist.

OP, have you ever met any of his family? No friends from years ago who might know about another/previous marriage?

As a PP said, you may not legally be married - and whilst I accept that you wouldn't want the father of your children in prison... if you leave him, what's to stop him from falsely marrying someone else in your stead? Would you want your children subject to that? Or, if your husband has turned up on a birth certificate for a child you've never heard of before, your children dumped as he moves on to another new "wife" and family?

Aprilshowersarecomingsoon Fri 01-Mar-19 14:05:31

Have you Googled her name??

Birdsgottafly Fri 01-Mar-19 14:07:11

He should have been honest amd do your investigations.

However, a relative had been a drug addict. In that time he had married and had a child. The child was adopted and the marriage broke down, when they got clean they realised they had nothing in common.

I know he had a few Partners he didn't tell about his past.

womaninatightspot Fri 01-Mar-19 14:08:50

I'm trying free bmd but it can't find anything tbh. Suspect district not fully uploaded

diddl Fri 01-Mar-19 14:13:01

I think that freebmd might only be 100% up to about the mid 80s.

womaninatightspot Fri 01-Mar-19 14:13:57

House and mortgage in my name. TBH whether or not I had him done for bigamy he could "dump" the kids anyway.

FizzyGreenWater Fri 01-Mar-19 14:16:48

If the house and mortgage are already in your name then things are less murky for you maybe.

It shouldn't make any difference to maintenance either, whether marriage legal or not. And yes a man this dishonest - best to nail him, if it's true.

ChessieFL Fri 01-Mar-19 14:18:07

It does sound like he had a child before he met you. It’s possible they weren’t married though - she could have just changed her surname to his. Not saying this is what happened, just one potential scenario.

Panicatthebistro Fri 01-Mar-19 14:19:21

Can you search on the GRO (general registry office) website?

Firstly, see if you find the entry for the birth and apply for a long copy of that birth certificate - it should have the full parents names and address etc. Then use any further information gleaned from that to find any marriage info and then get the certificate.

SalliSunbeem Fri 01-Mar-19 14:20:32

Google his name? It's surprising what a trail a name can leave.

OVienna Fri 01-Mar-19 14:20:45

That's good to hear re the house.

The thing is - you want to be able to marry in the future. You need to be able to 'close out' this marriage in official terms, one way or another without causing a risk to yourself. You need to find out what they will check when the divorce goes through in order to try to determine if it would emerge then. I'd call a family court and ask a few questions anonymously.

Panicatthebistro Fri 01-Mar-19 14:21:10

Also would your marriage certificate give info about his full name, date/location of birth to help with finding out information?

mummmy2017 Fri 01-Mar-19 14:21:25

There should be address info on the birth cert.
Put speech marks round the name, it holds it as one word in a search..
"Jack Sparrow"

PepsiLola Fri 01-Mar-19 14:21:44

Could you make a new email address for ancestry?

womaninatightspot Fri 01-Mar-19 14:21:53

I've never met his family at all. Have noticed that the middle name matches an old"friend" of his (never met)and the location sounds right for that time in his life. Just don't understand why if he had dc / exwife he wouldn't say? Am registering with the gro

trulybadlydeeply Fri 01-Mar-19 14:25:01

Actually if the house is in your name, and there is equity in it, it could possibly be to your benefit that you are not legally married. Depending on what his financial situation is of course.

ilovemylurcher Fri 01-Mar-19 14:27:21

Agree with Norriskipjack.
Do you actually want to find out anymore?

FizzyGreenWater Fri 01-Mar-19 14:28:32

He wouldn't say if they were still married and he was the kind of twat to do this. There's no reason for that except simply Being A Dishonest Weirdo.

You just need to know, that's the first step. Then you can decide what course to take. Thank goodness things are in your sole name though, as the big problem would be joint assets which another person (legal wife) could lay claim to. Sounds like you won't have that problem.

womaninatightspot Fri 01-Mar-19 14:30:50

I've googled the address all that tells me is that it was a terrace! He's no longer on my facebook (just noticed) so can't look up his old chum who is a facebook. Have to do school run so will come back to this.

Thindragon Fri 01-Mar-19 14:31:27

if he has other children won't that also impact amount of child support you can get?

FizzyGreenWater Fri 01-Mar-19 14:31:27

Good lord of course you would want to find out!!!!

Yes you may indeed decide to keep whatever information you find to yourself, but can you imagine suspecting your own marriage was invalid and just thinking 'ah well, maybe it was maybe it wasn't' -!

You absolutely never know when something like this could cause you all sorts of issues down the line. Not least as possibly the most important nugget is that your ex-h could possibly be an absolute fraudster. I'd want confirmation of that tendency and would then consider myself forewarned and would be double-checking credit records and any other possilbe avenue for him having undertaken dodgy deals in my name.

HollowTalk Fri 01-Mar-19 14:33:44

If the house is in your name it's really worth your while finding out the truth here. In a way I'm hoping (for your sake) that he is married.

Don't worry about them sending him to prison. I can't see that happening.

womaninatightspot Fri 01-Mar-19 14:34:37

Other children would be adult / very nearly adult.

AintNobodyHereButUsReindeer Fri 01-Mar-19 14:35:08

It sounds awfully suspicious OP, I hope you manage to get to the bottom of it! There's some great advice on this thread. You should probably get a solicitor asap though, maybe they could look into this for you?

Burlea Fri 01-Mar-19 14:36:15

Im so interested in this topic.

Kneehigim Fri 01-Mar-19 14:36:34

Is the birth cert of a child of his? What does 'informant' mean? When was the child born?

lovelypumpkin Fri 01-Mar-19 14:36:44

I can understand why you would want to find out from legal perspective, but in terms of your own mental health I think it is better that you come to terms with the fact that you don't trust him and he wasn't what you thought he was. The fact that he was verbally abusive and gaslighting is proof enough. Otherwise where do you stop, how much time and headspace are you going to waste on him?

If you meet someone who you don't want to be friends with, because you don't trust them or you suspect they would not be someone you would like if you got to know them, do you feel the urge to "prove" it to yourself? Or do you just move onwards and forget about them?

Let him go. Deal with the awful practical aspects of separation, and contact for dc, and hand over the certificate to your solicitor, and then focus on yourself, moving on.

lyralalala Fri 01-Mar-19 14:36:46

* It does sound like he had a child before he met you. It’s possible they weren’t married though - she could have just changed her surname to his. Not saying this is what happened, just one potential scenario.*

the OP's husband wouldn't have been able to register the child's birth solo in that case.

A man can only register the birth alone if he is married to the mother, or if there is a situation where the mother cannot (if she died in childbirth for example).

MadameMaxGoesler Fri 01-Mar-19 14:37:14

If you have her name and address, try searching on - it should show who else was living at that address at the period in question.

womaninatightspot Fri 01-Mar-19 14:38:06

I googled and it is a felony, jail time up to seven years. For all his faults he's always been fairly generous cash wise cars/ house/ free cash in my name. Course could mean he's totally dodgy and making sure it can't be touched if his legitimate wife ever tracked him down.

Must dash but will be back.

lyralalala Fri 01-Mar-19 14:39:52

The time when another child would come into play massively, other than your divorce, would/will be when he dies. Especially if he dies intestate. That will be a hell of a mess.

contrary13 Fri 01-Mar-19 14:40:27

You're absolute right, OP, in that he can dump children as/when/if he feels like it... but if he has past history for abandoning children, wouldn't you - as the mother of yours, I mean - want pre-warning?

Unless someone has impersonated your husband to register a child, then chances are the older/adult child is legally, if not biologically, his. Which means, related to your children. How do you feel about that? Irrespective of whether your husband has been married before... if he has registered a child as it's father? It is your child(ren)'s half-sibling. Whom they're oblivious to. Whom you were oblivious to.


NC4Now Fri 01-Mar-19 14:45:50

He doesn't have the same name as his father or anything does he?

Frustratedfrenchie Fri 01-Mar-19 14:50:39

I have an ancestry membership if you need me to check for records. Feel free to PM me.

diddl Fri 01-Mar-19 14:52:13

" What does 'informant' mean?"

The person who registered the birth of the child.

So obviously had the paper saying that baby had been born.

WinnieFosterTether Fri 01-Mar-19 15:06:58

It's probably worth paying to subscribe to one of the ancestry websites so you can look for a marriage certificate, etc.
Since he's from a big family, it could be a relative's paperwork so if I were you, I'd prioritise searching the records. You don't want this taking a toll on your emotions and resilience until you're sure it's him.

UnicornRainbowsRain Fri 01-Mar-19 15:07:42

Any chance friend has had a baby and later sent him the birth certificate further down the line? Can Mothers register the father's name without father present?

Gone4Good Fri 01-Mar-19 15:08:30

I had no family at any of my weddings!!

Neither did I.

CharlesChickens Fri 01-Mar-19 15:14:11

Ancestry or findmypast , or For some reason some things will come up on one site only. Pm me if you want me to search for you as I subscribe to both.

milienhaus Fri 01-Mar-19 15:14:16

OP keep digging and report back, I hope you find an answer which improves your divorce settlement which way that ends up being!

VeryLittleOwl Fri 01-Mar-19 15:15:22

Doesn't necessarily mean he'll go to prison even if it's reported - a friend found out after her MIL died that MIL's git of a husband hadn't got divorced from his previous wife. MIL hadn't made a will and finding this out stopped him taking everything MIL had wanted to go to her sons. It was reported to the police, but they took no action.

OftenHangry Fri 01-Mar-19 15:18:02

An informant doesn't have to be a spouse.
It's the person who gives the information needed to fill up the birth cert. It's usually the mother. I suspect you should rather search death certificates and adoptions tbh.

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