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An archaic term that refers to the legal status of a married woman.
At Common Law, coverture was the protection and control of a woman by her husband that gave rise to various rights and obligations. Upon marriage, a Husband and Wife were said to have acquired unity of person that resulted in the husband having numerous rights over the property of his wife and in the wife being deprived of her power to enter into contracts or to bring lawsuits as an independent person. These restrictions were abolished by various statutes.
During coverture means within the duration of the marriage.
coverturenoun condition of a married woman, conjugality, legal status of a married woman, living as man and wife, marriage lines, married state, married tie, matronage, matronhood, matronship, nuptial bond, state of a married woman, state of matrimony, union, wedded state, wifedom
See also: cohabitation, cover, protection, refuge, shelter, shield
covertureformerly, the condition or status of a married woman considered as being under the protection and influence of her husband.
COVERTURE. The state or condition of a married woman.
2. During coverture, the being of the wife is civilly merged, for many purposes, into that of her husband; she can, therefore, in general, make no contracts without his consent, express or implied. Com. Dig. Baron and Feme, W; Pleader, 2 A 1; 1 Ch. Pl. 19, 45; Litt. s. 28; Chit. Contr. 39; 1 Bouv. Inst. n. 276.
3. To this rule there are some exceptions: she may contract, when it is for her benefit, as to save her from starvation. Chit. Contr. 40.
4. In some cases, when coercion has been used by the husband to induce her to commit crime, she is exempted from punishment. 1 Ha1e, P. C. 516; 1 Russ. Cr. 16.