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Page:Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management.djvu/2186

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quently acquired by, or devolve upon, her. Moreover, any woman married before January i, 1883, is similarly entitled to any property to which her title accrued after that date. But property to which her title accrued before that date will be subject to the law as it previously existed.[1] Subject to this provision, a married woman is now capable of acquiring and holding any property as her own, and may dispose of it by will or otherwise in the same manner as if she were unmarried.

Remedies for Protection and security of a Married Woman's Property.— Every married woman is entitled to maintain in her own name against any person whomsoever, including her husband, the same civil remedies and also (subject to the proviso below as to her husband) the same remedies by way of criminal proceedings for the protection and security of her separate property, as if it belonged to her as an unmarried woman. No criminal proceedings however, can be taken by her against her husband while they are living together, in respect to any property claimed by her; nor while they are living apart, in respect to any act done by the husband while living with her with regard to her property, unless such property has been wrongfully taken by him when leaving or deserting her, or about to do so.

In any such proceedings a husband or wife are competent to give evidence against each other, and the wife or husband of any person charged under the above provision may be called as a witness for the prosecution or defence, and without the consent of the person charged.

Proceedings by Husband for Protection of his own Property.—If a wife does any act in respect to her husband's property, which if done by him in respect to her property would entitle her to take criminal proceedings against him, such proceedings may be taken by the husband against the wife, and under similar conditions.

Liability of Married Women for their Debts or Wrongful Acts.—A married woman is capable of entering into and rendering herself liable to the extent of her separate property on any contract,[2] and of suing or being sued either on a contract or in respect to any wrongful act committed by her, as if she were unmarried. Any damages or costs, if recovered by her, will be her separate property; or if recovered against her will be payable out of her separate property, and not otherwise.

Any contract entered into by a married woman otherwise than as agent will be deemed to be entered into by her with respect to, and to bind, her separate property, whether she was or was not, in fact, possessed of or entitled to any at the time she made the contract. It will moreover bind any separate property of which she may subsequently become possessed or entitled to, and will also be enforceable against all property which she may after her marriage has ceased be possessed of or entitled to, provided that her separate property which at the time or afterwards she is restrained from anticipating cannot be taken to satisfy her liability.

Debts, etc., before marriage.—A woman after her marriage continues to be liable to the extent of her separate property for all debts, contracts,[2] or wrongs committed by her before marriage. Any sum recovered against her will be payable out of her separate estate; and as between her and her husband, unless there be any contract to the contrary, her separate property will be deemed to be primarily liable for such debts or wrongs. A husband cannot maintain an action against his wife for money lent to her, or money paid for her at her request before their marriage. But he may do so, and charge her separate estate, in respect to money lent to her, or paid for her, after marriage, upon request by her, whether made before or after marriage. A married woman carrying on a trade separately from her husband is in

  1. Which being somewhat technical cannot be adequately dealt with in the limited space that is available.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Contract" here includes the acceptance of any trust or the office of executrix or administratrix.