Married women in ct

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The Married Women's Property Acts are laws enacted by the individual states of the United States beginning in , usually under that name and sometimes, especially when extending the provisions of a Married Women's Property Act, under names describing a specific provision, such as the Married Women's Earnings Act.

The Married Women's Property Acts helped to rectify some of the difficulties that women faced under coverture , the English common law system that subsumed married women's ability to own property, wages, enter into contracts, and otherwise act autonomously, to their husband's authority. After New York passed their Married Women's Property Law in , this law became the template for other states to grant married women the right to own property.

Under the common law legal doctrine known as coverture , a married woman in British North American colonies and later in the United States had hardly any legal existence apart from her husband. Her rights and obligations were subsumed under his. She could not own property, enter into contracts, or earn a salary. Over several decades, beginning in , statutes that enabled women to control real and personal property, enter into contracts and lawsuits, inherit independently of their husbands, work for a salary, and write wills were enacted.

The first such law was in Mississippi , which in granted married women the right to own but not control property in her own name. In , New Hampshire allowed married women to own and manage property in their own name during the incapacity of their husband, and Kentucky did the same in In Maine extended married women property rights by granting them separate economy and then trade s.

Massachusetts also granted married women separate economy in Usually, concerns for family integrity and protecting a household from economic crisis, rather than a liberal conception of the role of women in society, motivated these changes. As late as a decision of the Supreme Court of Illinois in Cole v.

Van Riper noted that "It is simply impossible that a married woman should be able to control and enjoy her property as if she were sole, without practically leaving her at liberty to annul the marriage. Connecticut 's law of allowing a married woman to write a will was a forerunner, though its impact on property and contracts was so slight that it is not counted as the first statute to address married women's property rights. Beginning in the nineteenth century, the first legislation embodying some of the changes women advocated for in the North was enacted in the American South.

There is some evidence that in the s in Georgia some free Black women like Hannah Leion owned slaves, and in Louisiana in some free Black women like Sophie Delhonde owned slaves, so women must have had some property rights in those states by that point. Any attempt to collect debt from her husband could not reach property only she owned. She had the right to refuse to sell the property, but could not manage that property or sell it without her husband's consent. Parents who gave property to a daughter upon marriage also enjoyed the protection the Act provided from a son-in-law's mishandling of his family's affairs.

Maryland enacted important legislation in and Arkansas enacted legislation in Texas, still an independent republic rather than a state, passed its act in It was the most expansive legislation of any enacted in the South and allowed a married woman to enter into certain contracts, write a will, and sue for divorce. Not only could she veto the sale of her property, but she could veto the sale of the family homestead even if she was not its owner.

Without referencing the independence of the wife that advocates for such legislation envisioned, legislators argued that the legislation protected the wife and children from irresponsible husbands. Midwestern states that enacted legislation included Michigan in , which covered both real and personal property obtained by a woman before or during her marriage.

More limited statutes were passed during the next two years in Ohio, Indiana, and Iowa. In , New York granted a married woman who secured "a patent for her own invention" the right to hold it and retain all earnings from it "as if unmarried". It was used as a model by several other states in the s. It provided that: [6]. Also in , Pennsylvania followed similar legislation to New York's. He has made her, if married, in the eye of the law, civilly dead. He has taken from her all right in property, even to the wages she earns.

He has so framed the laws of divorce, as to what shall be the proper causes of divorce, in case of separation, to whom the guardianship of the children shall be given; as to be wholly regardless of the happiness of the women—the law, in all cases, going upon a false supposition of the supremacy of a man, and giving all power into his hands.

In an exception to the statutory expansion of the legal rights of married women, the California Constitution of , drawing on the community property tradition of Spanish civil law rather than the common law tradition, distinguished a wife's property from community property : "All property, both real and personal, of the wife, owned or claimed by her before marriage, and that acquired afterward by gift, devise, or descent, shall be her separate property; and laws shall be passed more clearly defining the rights of the wife in relation as well to her separate property, as to that held in common with her husband.

New Jersey passed a limited statute in and in another version that one historian described as "comprehensive and progressive". It allowed married women to own and sell real and personal property, control their earnings, to sue and to make wills. The original state constitutions of Kansas , Oregon , and Nevada guaranteed the right of women to own property without respect to marital status. The movement to expand the property rights of married women did not go unchallenged. Virginia debated and rejected such legislation in the s. As of , 14 states had passed some version of this statute.

As the U. Congress considered legislation to protect the civil rights of African-Americans that became the Civil Rights Act of , opponents of the legislation charged that it would alter the legal status of married women. Senator Edgar Cowan, a supporter of the legislature ridiculed that suggestion: "What was the involuntary servitude mentioned there? Was it the right the husband had to the service of his wife? Nobody can pretend that those things were within the purview of that amendment; nobody believes it. In the years following the Civil War, Harriet Beecher Stowe campaigned for the expansion of married women's rights, arguing in that: [20].

She can make no contract and hold no property; whatever she inherits or earns becomes at that moment the property of her husband. Though he acquired a fortune through her, or though she earn a fortune through her talents, he is the sole master of it, and she cannot draw a penny. She passes out of legal existence. The changing statutes and differences among the states complicated the situation of female authors. A married woman's right to contract with a publisher and to control what her writings earned depended on the state or states where she and her husband lived at the time.

This article is about United States legislation. The New York Historical Society. Retrieved 31 July Salinger, eds. In Coryell, Janet L. University of Missouri Press. ISBN Zorina Khan November 20, Cambridge University Press. Zorina Khan provides a table of the states and their enactment of statutes in these three . American Women. Library of Congress. Retrieved February 3, American Women Authors and Literary Property, NY: Cambridge University Press. Boswell notes that Texas passed other legislation to restrict the reach of creditors, including the Homestead Exemption Act in NY: Oxford University Press.

Declaration of Sentiments — via Wikisource. Urbana: University of Illinois Press. University of Iowa Press. Northeastern University Press. Timelines of American Women's History. NY: Berkley Publishing. Hidden : All articles with unsourced statements Articles with unsourced statements from April Namespaces Article Talk. Views Read Edit View history. Help Learn to edit Community portal Recent changes file. Download as PDF Printable version.

Married women in ct

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Married Women's Property Acts in the United States