Common-law marriage is an old concept and an often misunderstood one, but common-law marriages can qualify when it comes to being eligible for a VA home loan.
Common-law marriages are basically marriages where two people live together for a certain period of time, present themselves to family and friends as married but never actually have a wedding ceremony or obtain a marriage license.
Several states don’t recognize these unique unions, but on occasion, questions about common-law marriage do arise for veterans looking to use their VA loan benefits.
The VA and VA home loan lenders can recognize common-law marriages for home loan purposes, provided you’re buying in a state that recognizes common-law marriage, and you and your spouse meet the state’s requirements.
Only about a dozen states continue to recognize new common-law marriages. A few states that have outlawed new common-law marriages still recognize older ones that have been “grandfathered in.”
According to legal website Nolo, here’s the list of states that recognize at least some common-law marriages:
Requirements for what constitutes a common-law marriage can vary by state. Couples who live together for a certain number of years -- seven is a frequent one cited -- don’t automatically become common-law spouses.
Veterans, service members and their families can check with their applicable state office or consult an attorney for more information about common-law marriage requirements and guidelines.
In addition, different VA lenders may have different requirements, so talk with a loan officer in more detail.
Determining your common-law status can be critical for couples who each want to be on a VA-backed mortgage. For veterans seeking a VA loan, having a co-borrower who is neither a spouse nor an eligible veteran requires a down payment of 12.5 percent to 14.5 percent.
Talk with a Veterans United loan specialist for more details about your specific situation.
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