The short answer to your question is yes, you are required to disclose your marital status when you apply for a mortgage. On the bottom of the first page of a standard mortgage application, also known as a form 1003, under item III. Borrower Information, all applicants on the loan are required to select their marital status from three options:
Married (includes registered domestic partners)
Unmarried (includes single, divorced, widowed)
You are required to provide your marital status because guidelines for many mortgage programs require financial information for an applicant’s spouse even if the spouse is not a co-borrower on the loan. For example, if a program applies a household income limit then a spouse’s income is a factor in determining if the applicant is eligible for the mortgage.
Additionally, in many cases the lender is required to review the monthly debt obligations for a spouse regardless of if the spouse is on the mortgage or intends to live in the property. In short, lenders need to make sure that debts are not being put in the name of one spouse so that the other spouse can qualify for the mortgage.
Simply put, you are required to disclosure your marital status not because lenders want to get up in your personal business but rather because your spouse is an important and necessary part of the mortgage process. Lenders are simply following mortgage guidelines by requesting this information on your mortgage application.
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We want to highlight that only the lender reviews your application, which should not be shared with anyone else without your permission. So if there are other parties involved in the mortgage process, such as a co-signer, they should not learn your marital status as long as they submit a separate application.
That said, loan applications for all applicants may be included in final mortgage documents that all borrowers receive at closing so a co-signer or co-borrower may be able to review your loan application and therefore your marital status, in this context. You may be able to ask your lender to not include your application in the final loan documents a co-signer or co-borrower receives but the decision on what to include in the closing package is ultimately up to the lender.
Your marital status may also be disclosed on the title documents that outline the ownership of the property being financed so that is another issue to keep in mind. If you wish to keep your marital status confidential over the course of the mortgage process, I recommend that you have a conversation with your lender and potentially the title company to understand the best way to address your concerns.
"Uniform Residential Loan Application (Form 1003)." Originating & Underwriting. Fannie Mae, September 29 2015. Web.« Return to Q&A Home About the author