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pose of her separate property by will, or execute a power, c. 106, $ 4. Wills are revoked by a subsequent marriage, except when made under power of appointment, when the estate would not, in default of such appointment, go to the heirs. Id. 9. She may deposit in bank and check as if sole ; but rights of third parties are not affected if bank has notice. Sipplement 1866, p. 727. When there is no appearance of fraud, on joint application of husband and wife, the court may empower her to use, sell, and convey, for her own benefit, any property she may own or acquire; and to trade in her own name as a feme sole, and dispose of her property by deed or by will; and in all cases it is free from the debts of her husband and liable for her own. Id. p. 728.
In this State, the wife cannot appear in court without the authority of her husband, though she may be a public merchant, or hold her property separate from him. Even then, she cannot alienate, mortgage, or acquire by gratuitous or unencumbered title, without his written consent. She may be authorized by the judge of probate upon his refusal; and if separated from bed and board, has no need of the authorization of her husband. If a public merchant, she may, without being empowered by him, obligate herself in any thing relating to her trade; her husband is also bound, if there is a community of property. She is considered a public merchant if she carries on a separate trade, but not if she retails only the merchandise of the commerce carried on by him. If the husband is under interdiction, or absent, the judge may authorize her to act as if unmarried. She may make a will without his authority. Civil Code, art. 121-132, 1239, 1467, 1779. But she cannot become an executrix without his consent or the court's. Id. art. 1757. She may act as a mandatary. Id. art. 1780. Neither party can be a witness for or against the other. Id. art. 2260. They may, by marriage contract, determine the rights of property; but cannot change the legal order of descents (this restriction not affecting donations inter vivos or mortis causa, or donation by the marriage contract according to the rules for donations inter vivos or mortis causa), nor derogate from the husband's rights over the person of his wife and children, or as head of the family, nor with respect to children, if he survive the wife, nor from the prohibitory dispensations of the Code. Id. art. 2305–2307, 2316. The property of married persons is divided into “separate" and " common;
” and the separate property of the wife into “dotal” and "extra-dotal” or “paraphernal.” The “ dotal ” is that which the wife brings to the husband to assist him in bearing the expenses of the marriage establishment. Id. art. 2314, 2015, 2317. Full provisions exist as to the settlement, administration, recovery, subject-matter, &c., of dowry, and the rights of both parties therein, effect of insolvency of the husband, marital portion, &c., id. art. 2317–2354, 2358, 2359; as to the administration, fruits, &c., of the extra-dotal effects. Id. art. 2360–2368. The wife has a legal mortgage on her husband's immovables (which he
may release by giving a special mortgage to the satisfaction of a family meeting, &c., or in accordance with stipulations in the marriage contract); but it shall
not be lawful to stipulate that no mortgage shall exist, id. art. 2357; R. S. 1856, p. 242, tit. Husband and Wife; and a privilege on his immovables for the restitution of her dowry, &c. Id. art. 2355–2357, 2367, 3182, 3187. This is in lieu of dower, id. art. 3219; and is seventh in the order of pref.
Id. art. 3221. A partnership or community of acquets or gains exists by operation of law in all cases. But the parties may modify or limit it, or agree that it shall not exist; in which case there are provisions, preserving to the wife the administration and enjoyment of her property and the power of alienating it as if paraphernal, with reference to the expenses of the marriage and liability of the husband. Id. art. 2312, 2369, 2370, 2393-2398. This community consists of the profits of all the effects of which the husband has the administration and enjoyment, either of right or in fact; of the produce of the reciprocal industry and labor of both husband and wife; and of the estates which they may acquire during marriage, either by donations made jointly to them both, or by purchase, or in any similar way, even though the purchase be in the name of one and not of both. Debts contracted during marriage enter into this partnership, and must be acquitted out of the common fund; but those contracted before marriage, out of individual effects. The husband is the head and master of the community; administers its effects, disposes of the revenue, and may alienate by an unencumbered title, without the wife's consent. Id. art. 2371-2373. There are special provisions as to conveyances and dispositions of the community property and gains; effect of dissolution of marriage; ability of the wife to exonerate herself from debts contracted during marriage by renouncing the partnership; effect of such renunciation; death; survivorship; separation a mensa et thoro ; separation of property during coverture; rights of creditors, &c., id. art. 2373-2392, 2398–2412; R. S. 1856, p. 242, tit. Husband and Wife; the absence of one party. Code, art. 65. Either party, by marriage contract or during marriage, may give to the other all he or she might give to a stranger. R. S. 1856, p. 79, § 17. Property acquired in the State by non-resident married persons, whether the title is in the name of either or in their joint names, is subject to tho same provisions as if owned by citizens of the State. R. S. p. 103. If husband or wife die intestate, without ascendants or descendants, his or her share in the community property is held by the survivor in usufruct for life; if the deceased intestate leave issue of the marriage, the survivor holds such issue's inheritance in usufruct till death or second marriage. R. S.
A married woman, in certain cases, may be authorized to contract debts and give mortgages; or renounce her rights in favor of third persons; or appoint an agent. R. S. pp. 560, 561, tit. Woman.
pp. 103, 104.
In this State, a married woman holds as her separate property whatever she possessed before marriage, and whatever comes to her after marriage, unless purchased by the husband's money or coming from him so as to defraud his creditors, Acts of 1855, c. 117; and has all the usual rights of a single woman as to it, R. S. c. 115, $ 82; Acts of 1855, c. 120; but cannot convey property received through the husband or his relatives unless he join. Acts of 1856, c. 250. Her property is alone liable for her debts before marriage. Acts of 1852, c. 291. Although under twenty-one years, she is of full age. Id. There are provisions as to a married woman being administratrix, or executrix, R. S. c. 106, $ 35; guardian, R. S. c. 110, $ 24; insane, id. c. 112, $ 1; Acts of 1853, c. 6; whose husband is under guardianship, Acts of 1853, c. 33; and the homestead, to the value of $500, is not liable for his debts, and goes to his widow and minor children. Acts of 1850, c. 207. Real estate may be conveyed to a wife by her husband as security for a bona fide debt, and this may be conveyed by her without his being joined in the deed. Acts and Resolves, 1863, c. 214. Letters of administration may be granted on her estate, and all debts contracted for her benefit shall be paid by her executor and allowed him. She may engage in trade on her own account, and any contract made by her is valid, and her property is liable to execution for her debts, his property is exempt in any such case, unless he were a party to the contract. Id. c. 77, 148; Acts of 1866, c. 52. A homestead not exceeding in value $500 is exempted from execution. R. S. p. 502.
In this State, if a married infant unite with her husband in a conveyance to release dower, courts of equity may declare it valid if equitable. Dorsey, Laws of Md.; Public Acts of 1832, c. 302, § 7. She cannot be executrix or administratrix unless her husband give a bond. Id.; Public Acts of 1798, c. 101, Sub. c. 4, § 8. Her choses in action, at her death, become her husband's without his taking out letters of administration. Id.; Sub. c. 5, $ 8. An alien wife of a citizen husband residing in the United States has her dower, and may hold lands by purchase and transfer the same as if a citizen. Id.; Public Acts of 1813, c. 100. Any devise or bequest to her is construed to be in bar of her dower, unless otherwise expressed Id.; Public Acts of 1798, c. 101, Sub. c. 13, SS 1, 3. Insurance on life is secured to her, if the premium do not exceed $300. Public Acts of 1840, c. 212. Her receipt for money deposited before her marriage in any bank, is valid, if no creditor of the husband has previously attached it. Public Acts of 1853, c. 335. Married woman may make a will with consent of her husband subscribed if she have been examined apart; not to apply to property acquired after the adoption of this code. Code 1860, p. 686. Her property belonging to her at marriage or acquired during coverture is not liable for his debts, but she holds it for her separate use the same as if sole. She may convey by joining with her husband. Property passing from him to her after coverture if in fraud of creditors is void. If she die intestate leaving children, he has a life-estate in both real and personal property; but if she leave no children his life estate in her real and personal property vests in him absolutely. Code 1860, p. 325, SS 1, 2, 7. It is not necessary for her to have a trustee to secure the separate use of her property, but she may make one by joining to a deed with her husband. When there is none she may sue by her next friend. Id. 325, § 14. She has dower in lands held by equitable title of her husband. If he be convicted of bigamy she is at once endowed of one
third of his real estate, with like remedy for its recovery as in other cases, and to one-third of his personal estate as if he had died intestate. He in such case forfeits his title to curtesy, and his claim to any estate personal or mixed which he might have in her right. She, on such conviction, forfeits dower, and her share of the personal estate. Id. p. 207, § 11. If leases for a definite term or renewable for ever are made to her, the rent of which shall be unpaid for the space of ninety days, she may levy upon the holders of such lease by distress, or bring an action for the recovery of the premises. She may bind herself and assigns by covenants running with the land as if a feme sole. Laws of Md. 1867, p. 427, $S 1, 2. She may release her right of dower in real estate, by joint or separate deed. d. 327, $ 11.
In this State, provisions exist for the benefit of the wife when deserted oy the husband (R. S. c. 77), to a great extent superseded by the Laws of 1855, c. 304, post. A married woman coming into the State, whose husband never lived with her in the State, has the same rights as a single woman in matters of contract and suit. R. S. c. 77, § 18; Gregory v. Paul, 15 Mass. 31; Abbott v. Bayley, 6 Pick. 89. Antenuptial contracts in favor of the wife are valid, and she may receive any conveyance (except from her husband), bequest, or devise to her own use, without a trustee, and has all the powers respecting it a trustee would have, and is liable for any contract made or wrong done before marriage. Laws of 1845, c. 208. A woman married after June 4, 1845, holds, as a single woman might, all property held before marriage or subsequently acquired, except by gift from her husband; but cannot convey real estate (except for a term not exceeding one year), nor shares in a corporation, without the written consent of her husband, or the consent of a judge of the Supreme Court, Court of Cominon I'leas, or Probate, nor bequeath away from her husband more than Lalf her personal estate, without his consent in writing, and her property is alone liable for her antenuptial debts. Any married woman may dispose by will of her real estate, but cannot thereby deprive her husband of his tenancy by the curtesy; and her real estate and shares in a corporation are not liable for his debts contracted since June 3, 1855. married woman may be a sole trader. Laws of 1855, c. 304. There are also provisions as to guardianship, R. S. c. 77, 79, and insanity. Laws of 1855, c. 233; 1856, c. 99, 169. A homestead to the value of $800 is not liable for the debts of a householder, but after his death is for the benefit of his widow and family, for her life and while any child is a minor, provided it be designated in the deed of purchase as a homestead under this act, or if already purchased, be so declared in a deed acknowleged and recorded, and is safe only from debts contracted after the record, and is not exempt from taxes, debts incurred by purchase, and debts for ground-rent of land upon which it is situated. This exemption shall not defeat any lien or encumbrance existing when the law was passed. A husband cannot convey such homestead without his wife joins in the deed. Laws of 1851, c. 340. If a man dies testate, leaving a widow, she may, at any time within six months after probate of the will, file in the probate office her waiver of
the provisions made for her in the will; and shall be thereupon entitled to such portions of his real and personal estate as she would have been entitled to if her husband had died intestate. But she takes only for life her share of the personal property over $10,000. Acts and Res. 1861, c. 1. Policies of insurance made payable to her or to any one in trust for her, whether by her husband or any other person, shall inure to her separate use, and that of her children, independently of her husband, the person assigning, or the creditors of either. But if the premium be paid with an intent to defraud creditors, an amount equal to such premium shall inure to the benefit of the creditors, subject to Statute of Limitations. Id. 1864, c. 197. Any accumulation of income of an estate held in trust for her, in the hands of trustees, or which has been received by her and invested together with the accumulations thereof, may be disposed of by her during her lifetime, or by will or appointment to take effect after her death, and with her written consent trustees may hold or invest such income on the same trusts as the principal estate is held. She may be a witness when contract was made by her in the absence of her husband. Supplement to Gen. Stats. p. 270; Id. 407. Her earnings not held by trustee process for his debt. Laws of 1868, c. 95. She may be executrix, administratrix, guardian or trustee, and make contracts, or transfers and conveyances of property (except with or to her husband) and sue or be sued, all as if sole, except that there can be no suits between husband and wife. Laws of 1874, c. 184. When a man and his wife are seized in her right, and when a married woman is seized to her sole and separate use, free from the control of her husband, of any estate of inheritance in lands, the husband shall, on the death of his wife, when he has no right as tenant by the curtesy, hold one-half the lands for his life, unless the wife shall by will provide otherwise. Laws of 1877, c. 83.
In this State, if a husband abandons his wife, or is in the State prison, she may be authorized, if of age, to act and be liable, in general, as a feme sole, in which case her contracts bind both as if their marriage had subsequently taken place. She may join with her guardian to release dower, and any agreement between her and such guardian is binding. The same rules apply to a married woman who coines into the State without her husband. The property acquired by a married woman, before or after coverture, is free from her husband's liabilities; but she cannot sell it without his consent, or authority from court, nor if separated from him can she remove it from his premises without such authority. R. S. c. 85. She may recover land lost by his default, and defend when he neglects. Id c. 113, $$ 3, 4. The marriage of an executrix extinguishes her authority. Id. c. 69, $ 8. So of an administratrix. Id. c. 70, § 13. A feme covert may have a general and beneficial power to dispose, during marriage, of lands conveyed to her. Id. c. 64, § 8. She may devise her property, id. c. 68, § 1; and may have dower through an alien. Id. c. 66, § 21. A married woman may insure the life of her husband for her benefit