It came up on another thread about searching court/public records and i didn't wanna hijack that thread, so starting a new one.
First, even in no fault divorces, there can still be 'dirt'. CA is no fault, but if there is a contested custody case (where the parent's don't agree on custody at any point), there may be declarations. In my DH's ex's divorce case, both her and her husband had friends write declarations because both wanted custody of their daughter. Also, if there is any domestic violence alleged, there will be information on that or possibly a separate case set up. (I've seen several in some cases) Some counties have online indexes where you can search by name to see if there is any case. In other areas where it's not online, you have to go down to the court clerk's office. (In my county, there is a different location for civil, family, and criminal/small claims) so I'd have to go to each and ask the clerk to search a name. Some clerks offices have a computer where you can search yourself. Some have a log that you can look through. Unless the case is 'confidential', you can see in it. Paternity cases in CA are confidential. If only part of the case is confidential, the clerk will remove that part and let you see the rest.
I also google people too. Sometimes, you get nothing but I met a guy online and had only talked to him on the phone a few times. He wanted to meet but I'd already gotten one red flag when he made a comment that I need to get an answering machine for my house because I didn't answer my phone when he called. I googled his name and found he had been involved in a sexual harassment case involving a co worker he had dated and become overly controlling. He was a police officer for San Francisco PD and there was a news story about it. That would never have come up in court papers unless she filed a formal restraining order against him.