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Signing Agent Tip: Answers about split signings

Notary Signing Agent performing split signing

Updated 3-13-23. Split signings often cause confusion for Notary Signing Agents. A split signing is when loan documents need to be signed by multiple borrowers, such as partners or spouses, but only one of the borrowers is available at one time.

In these situations, settlement services often arrange for two signing agents to process the loan documents during separate signing appointments, or for the same NSA to handle both at different times. Sometimes NSAs get advance notice, and sometimes they do not. But handling a split signing is fairly simple. Here’s what you need to know.

One signature at a time

If you are handling appointments for both parties, you’ll receive the loan documents, conduct both appointments and return the documents to your contracting company as usual.

If there are two NSAs handling a split signing, the first NSA in the chain receives the loan documents, conducts the signing and witnesses the signature of only the borrower who comes in person and presents identification. Then, depending on what the instructions say, they ship the documents back to the contracting agency or to the next Notary in the chain. The second NSA oversees the signing of the second borrower and then returns the documents to the contracting company.

Whether you are the first or second NSA in the chain, you only notarize documents for the person appearing before you.

Certificate challenges

If two names appear on one Notary certificate and only one borrower is present, line through the name of the absent person and initial and date the correction.

If you receive loan documents and don’t see any Notary certificates, or the certificates are already completed, get in touch with the contracting agency and ask how to proceed. The contracting agency will either will supply you with new certificates showing the signer’s name, or they may ask you to supply your own certificates.

Remember, you must never make changes to a certificate that you are not completing.

A matter of Signing Agent fees

When you handle both signings, you should clarify with the contracting company beforehand if you will receive a separate fee for each appointment. If you are one of two NSAs handling the split signing, you should clarify if you will be paid the full fee for one signing.




Add your comment

Michael A. Aloe

10 Apr 2017

helpful artical

Agnes Reizik

10 Apr 2017

Dear NNA, do you realize you are completely contradicting your article, "When And How To Use A Loose Certificate?" In this article you're telling me to cross out the name of the individual not appearing before us and use the notary certificate provided while in the other article you advise us to use a loose certificate when doing split signings. Complete contradiction in two articles that you guys included within the same newsletter.

National Notary Association

11 Apr 2017

Hello Agnes. We're not clear what contradiction you are referring to, as neither article states that a loose certificate cannot be used if needed for a split signing. Please see this quote from the split signings article: "If you receive loan documents and don’t see any Notary certificates, or the certificates are already completed, get in touch with the contracting agency and ask how to proceed. The contracting agency will either will supply you with new certificates showing the signer’s name, or they may ask you to supply your own certificates."

Ellen welsh

10 May 2017

When I am the first notary on a split signing I insert certificates where needed for the second notary. It's just a nice thing to do. The certificates have a space to enter the name of the document being notarized. When I have to use a loose certificate I complete it as usual then I place it side by side with the document and stamp both pieces with half of the stamp on one and the other half on the other piece of paper


23 Jul 2017

I just called into NNA Hotline yesterday and asked his exact question and I was told to NOT line out the name that appears on the certificate of the non attending signer. I was told to just put the attending signers name on the certificate and draw a squiggly line after it to be sure no other names can be added. My Signing is tomorrow morning!! Which is it??

National Notary Association

31 Jul 2017

Hello. The instructions in the article to line through the name of an absent signer if preprinted in the notarial certificate are correct. According to our record of the hotline call, the counselor you spoke to said to only include the name of the signer who is present in the acknowledgment certificate when asked.

Robbin Trice

08 Aug 2017

When i am the nsa for the 1st part of a split signing i always print and include extra document acknowledgement pages. This way everything should match up instead of someone having to use an ap acknowledgement. I wish all NSAs would follow this practice when printing the documents for split signings.


20 Jul 2020

I wouldn't provide a certificate to be used by second notary if they were in a different state from mine. Check with your SOS if splitting a stamp between two pages is allowed

James H Parhms

20 Jul 2020

James H Parhms Electronic Notary Public Stat of Texas ID. No. 132522055 Commission Expiration: June 15,2024 For a Seal

National Notary Association

24 Jul 2020

Hello. If you are contacting us about a seal order, please email or call our Customer Care team at or 1-800-876-6827. Thank you.

Federico B Saiki

20 Jul 2020

Another aspect is the dates on RTC when doing a two part signing.

Nikkole Ruddle

19 Jan 2023

Is this acceptable? "On this 22nd & 29th day of December, 2022.........." when there are 2 signers that didn't sign on the same day, but only one notary acknowledgment on the form? Or is it a requirement that two acknowlegments be completed?

National Notary Association

24 Jan 2023

Based on what you’ve described, we think it would be best if you contacted our Hotline team by phone and provided them with a more detailed description of the situation. The NNA Hotline: 1-888-876-0827 Mon – Fri: 5:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. (PT) Saturday: 5:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. (PT) If you’re not an NNA Member or Hotline Subscriber, they will provide you with a one-time courtesy call.

Robin Weiss

27 Mar 2023

I have had many split signings. When I am the first Notary, I line through the person NOT present and initial. When I've been the 2nd Notary, if a certificate for my signer is not present, I add a loose certificate and include the name of the document it attaches to, and acknowledge for the 2nd party only. Having done more than 100 of these, I've never had a title company ask for a re-sign or a certificate correction.

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