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I want to apply for a mortgage or home equity loan. Can a lender or broker ask me about my children or dependents?

A creditor such as a lender or broker may ask about the number and ages of your dependents. A lender or broker may also ask about dependent-related financial obligations or expenses. 

However, a lender or broker may do so only if the creditor asks for this information without regard to sex or marital status (or any other prohibited basis).

A lender or broker cannot ask you about your birth control practices. A lender or broker also cannot ask about your intentions concerning having or raising children or your capability to have children.

Further, a lender or broker is prohibited from discriminating in a mortgage or home equity loan because of familial status. Familial status means one or more individuals (who have not attained the age of 18 years) being domiciled with a parent or another person having legal custody of the individual or individuals, or the designee of such parent or other person having such custody, with the written permission of such parent or other person. The protections afforded against discrimination on the basis of familial status also apply to any person who is pregnant or is in the process of securing legal custody of any individual who has not attained the age of 18 years.