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A Brief Summary in Plain Language of the Most Important Laws Concerning Women; Together with a Few Observations Thereon . Bodichon, Barbara Leigh Smith, 1827–1891.
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page: 8

USUAL PRECAUTIONS AGAINST THE LAWS CONCERNING PROPERTY OF MARRIED WOMEN.


An engaged woman cannot dispose of her property.

When a woman has consented to a proposal of marriage, she cannot dispose or give away her property without the knowledge of her betrothed; if she make any such disposition without his knowledge, even if he be ignorant of the existence of her property, the disposition will not be legal.

Settlements.

It is usual, before marriage, in order to secure a wife and her children against the power of the husband, to make with his consent a settlement of some property on the wife, or to make an agreement before marriage that a settlement shall be made after marriage. It is in the power of the Court of Chancery to enforce the performance of such agreements.

Differences between Common Law and Equity.

Although the Common Law does not allow a married woman to possess any property, yet in respect of property settled for her separate use, Equity endeavours to treat her as a single woman.

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She can acquire such property by contract before marriage with her husband, or by gift from him or other persons.

There are great difficulties and complexities in making settlements, and they should always be made by a competent lawyer.

Indictment for theft.

When a wife’s property is stolen, the property (legally belonging to the husband) must be laid as his in the indictment.

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