wife

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wife

a married woman.
Collins Dictionary of Law © W.J. Stewart, 2006

WIFE, domestic relations. A woman who has a husband.
     2. A wife, as such, possesses rights and is liable to obligations. These will be considered. 1st. She may make contracts for the purchase of real estate for her own benefit, unless her husband expressly dissents. 6 Binn. R. 427. And she is entitled to a legacy directly given to her for her separate use. 6 Serg. & Rawle, R. 467. In some places, by statutory provision, she may act as a feme sole trader, and as such acquire personal property. 2 Serg. & Rawle, R. 289.
     3. 2d. She may in Pennsylvania, and in most other states, convey her interest in her own or her husband's lands by deed acknowledged in a form prescribed by law. 8 Dowl. R. 630.
     4.-3d. She is under obligation to love, honor and obey her husband and is bound to follow him wherever he may desire to establish himself: 5 N. S. 60; (it is presumed not out of the boundaries of the United States,) unless the husband, by acts of injustice and such as are contrary to his marital duties, renders her life or happiness insecure.
     5.-4th. She is not liable for any obligations she enters into to pay money on any contract she makes, while she lives with her husband; she is presumed in such case to act as the agent of her husband. Chitty, Contr. 43
     6.-5th. The incapacities of femes covert, apply to their civil rights, and are intended for their protection and interest. Their political rights stand upon different grounds, they can, therefore, acquire and lose a national character. These rights stand upon the general principles of the law of nations. Harp. Eq. R. 5 3 Pet. R. 242.
     7.-6th. A wife, like all other persons, when she acts with freedom, may be punished for her criminal acts. But the law presumes, when she commits in his presence a crime, not malum in se, as murder or treason, that she acts by the command and coercion of her husband, and, upon this ground, she is exempted from punishment. Rose. on Cr. Ev. 785. But this is only a presumption of law, and if it appears, upon the evidence, that she did not in fact commit the act under compulsion, but was herself a principal actor and inciter in it, she may be punished. 1 Hale, P. C. 516; 1 Russ. on Cr. 16, 20. Vide Contract; Divorce; Husband; Incapacity; Marriage; Necessaries; Parties to actions; Parties to contracts; Women and, generally, Bouv. Inst. Index,

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
References in periodicals archive ?
The issue of women and poverty is closely related to that of wifehood and domestic labour.
The trope of wifehood and or motherhood as a 'necessary' identification parameter of African womanhood is equally subverted.
At the broad, basic socio-generic level, where socio-ideological discourses penetrate into the literary genre, the valorization of maternal feeling implicit in these poems is a poetic inscription of the socio-cultural valorization of motherhood and wifehood (although the latter is absent at the overt, textual level of the sonnets) as the feminine site of "subjectivity and domesticity" that formed the basis of sensibility:
The subtle tense shift from the infinitive to the participial exposes Arthur's prioritizing of the imperatives of wifehood (as subjecthood: "to feel / My purpose") over and at the expense of any interest the arrangement might hold for the woman as agent, which would be strictly corollary ("and rejoicing") and incidental, even if his formulation admitted the possibility of her rejoicing in any joy but her husband's.
With respect to Elizabeth's subversion of wifehood, as many commentators have noted, one of the most interesting scenes in the closing pages of the novel is Darcy's sister's 'astonishment bordering on alarm' at Elizabeth's 'sportive manner' (45) towards her imperious brother--and, furthermore, the manner in which Darcy mildly conceeds to being made 'the object of open pleasantry' by his wife.
In particular, the page realizes the pointlessness of her dedication to a man who did not respect or appreciate her intense capabilities: "'Have I renounced my womanhood / For wifehood unto thee?'" she asks incredulously (XXXVI, ll.
The Senator's Wife delivers two differently flawed accounts of the state of wifehood in such a seamless form that the novel's bleakness registers only slowly and late." ELSBETH LINDNER
Yet the essays as a whole show considerable complication to this portrait of hushed wifehood. Both Pamela Lee and Rodrigo Lazo describe her earlier refusal as a single woman to publish the brilliant and privately circulated "Cuba Journal"; the impulse to female seclusion preceded her alliance with Nathaniel.
For Susan, room nineteen, unlike the spare room in her house which represents limits, acts as a buffer, a place of refuge against the traditional roles of wifehood and motherhood that are characterized by Judith Gardiner as in themselves "existentially dead and death-creating" (1975: 286).
Iris Courtney of Because It Is Bitter, and Because It Is My Heart is similarly resistant to sexuality, and by the conclusion of the novel she too accepts the conventional plot of marriage and wifehood. But whereas Maureen's path through the novel is motivated by her recognition of the omnipresence of terror, Iris rejects sexuality not out of an explicit fear of the sexual but out of fear of duplicating her mother's life.
"My hypothesis is a simple one, that the meanings of motherhood, wifehood, love, marriage, filial relationships, and sexuality are not given to us in some fixed, unchanging form.
When this character rejects her upbringing for a career outside the bounds of Jewish wifehood, Eliot makes her miserable.