Anderson & Boback Logo

Something Old…A Brief Look at the Evolution of Women’s Property Rights

Published
Categorized as Property Division

In the early nineteenth century, a single woman enjoyed the same rights as a man to enter contracts and manage property and to sue and be sued. However, when a woman married, those rights merged with the husband’s rights under the doctrine of coverture. Legally speaking, the man and woman became one—and he was the one who had all power over property and contractual rights in the marriage.
Until the mid to late nineteenth century, women of the marriage had absolutely no property rights. Women were considered the property or “chattel” of their husbands. Moreover, under the “doctrine of chastisement,” the law permitted a husband, as “master of the household,” to command his wife’s obedience and subject her to corporal punishment if she defied his authority. Since a wife was considered property, a husband could treat his own possession generally as he wished. If another man raped another man wife, it would be considered a property crime against another man.
In the second half the second of the nineteenth century, after decades of protest by temperance and women’s right advocates, coupled with shifting attitudes regarding corporal punishment, the doctrines of coverture and chastisement were formally repudiated and state lawmakers passed the Married Women’s Property Acts. This granted married women the same the same contract and property rights as unmarried women.

Was this information helpful?

You May Also Like

Wonder if your spousal maintenance is modifiable? This question was addressed in Scarp v. Rahman when the father in the case of sought to modify his maintenance obligation.  The trial court would not allow the modification so he sought an…

Birthdays are a big deal to kids - they usually get a party with their friends with cake, balloons, presents, and if they are lucky, a ball pit to jump into at Chucky Cheese! The day is all about them.…

Our firm represents a lot of military families and for the most part, handling a military divorce is just like any other divorce.  There are specific rules that need to be followed, however, and those parents in the military facing…

Changes to Spousal Maintenance Law in Illinois In 2019, a significant change in the tax code was made regarding maintenance, which resulted in spousal maintenance (formerly known as “alimony”, also known as “spousal support”) being tax-free to the recipient and…

Illinois has modified its statutes wherein parents are now allocated “parental responsibilities” and “parenting time” instead of “custody”.  The purpose of these changes was to try and give the parents less to fight over.  You can win “custody” but winning…

For Illinois parents that are no longer together or facing divorce, understanding the basics of child custody law is important. First, the term “custody” no longer exists in Illinois. The State of Illinois changed its laws regarding custody in 2016,…

RECENT POST
Categories
Archives
Anderson & Boback small logo

Download our Divorce Planning Guide today!

Get the information you need to prepare for divorce with our free resource Guide to Planning for Your Divorce.

What our clients are saying

Schedule a Discreet Consultation Today!

    Firm Overview
    ANDERSON & BOBACK

    Anderson & Boback is a highly-respected, experienced Chicago family law firm, skilled in negotiation and litigation. When divorce and other family law issues make your life chaotic and uncertain, you want your case resolved as quickly and fairly as possible. Call Now 312-715-0870