Legal Status Of Women In Iowa
Jennie Lansley Wilson

Produced by Garrett Alley, and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team.






Member of the Polk County Bar.



This book has been prepared for the purpose of presenting to the women
of Iowa, in a brief and concise form, those laws which pertain to
subjects in which they are most deeply interested, and about which there
is a strong and growing demand for certain and accurate information.

In this age of general intelligence, when learning in some degree is so
readily attainable, the maxim, that "Ignorance of the law excuses no
one," has a measure of justice in it, which could not be claimed for it
in former times, and it is most certainly true that, "As the subjects of
law, if not as its makers, all ought to know enough to avoid its
penalties and reap its benefits."

Every woman should understand the law of her own state concerning
marriage, divorce, the care and custody of children, and the mutual
rights and duties of husband and wife incident to the marriage relation.
She should know something of the law of minors and guardianship, of
administration, and descent of property, and her knowledge should
certainly embrace that class of crimes which necessarily includes her
own sex, either as the injured party, or as _particeps criminis_.

In the arrangement of this work, a very brief synopsis of the common law
upon these subjects is given, as the principles of the common law
underlie our entire statute law, and a knowledge of the former is
absolutely essential to render much of the latter intelligible. The
statute law of the state has been given in the exact words of the
statutes, with but few exceptions, and the explanations or notes
following these have been gathered from decisions of our supreme court.
The references are to sections of McClain's Annotated Code and

The design of the work is not broad enough to give to the most careful
reader that knowledge of the _minutiae_ of the law necessary in the
application of its principles to particular cases and under a special
state of facts. It is in nowise adequate, even though its contents
should be thoroughly mastered, to make every woman her own lawyer, in
matters where she would otherwise require legal advice, but it is hoped
that its statements are sufficiently plain and free from technical
phraseology and legal terms, that even the casual reader may readily
comprehend them, and be able to gain a general understanding of the law
of our state upon these subjects.


Des Moines, Iowa, May 1894.



Common law in force--Changes--Marriage--Dissolution of marriage--Power
of husband--Disabilities of wife--Custody of children--Property
rights--Descent of property--Discrimination in criminal matters--Right
of appeal--Reason for subjection of women


Contract of marriage--Legal age--No express form necessary--Who may
solemnize--When void


Property rights of married women--Remedy by husband or wife against the
other--Wife's torts--Conveyances to each other--Conveyances to third
parties--Wages of wife--Contracts of wife--Family expenses--Removal from
homestead--Conveyance of property when husband or wife is insane


Jurisdiction of court--Evidence--Causes for divorce--Husband from
wife--Maintenance during litigation--Alimony--Custody of
children--Annulling illegal marriages--Causes--Legitimacy of children


Majority--Contracts of minors--Natural guardians--Guardians of
property--Powers and duties of guardian--Guardians of drunkards,
spendthrifts and lunatics


Method of apprenticing--Schooling and treatment of minors--Who may
adopt--Method and effect of adoption--Home for the friendless--Powers


Who may make wills--Of what property--Verbal wills--Wills in
entitled--Time allowed


Exempt personal property--Life insurance--Allowance to widow and
children--Descent and distribution--Personal property--Real
property--Dower--Curtesy--Widow's share not affected by will--Descent to
children--To parents--To wife and her heirs--Illegitimate children
inherit from mother--When they may inherit from father--When father may
inherit from child


Homestead exempt--Family defined--Conveyance or encumbrance--Liability
for taxes and debts--What constitutes homestead--Exemptions to head of
family--Insurance--Personal earnings--Pension money--Damages producing


Rape--Intent to commit--Compelling to marry--Carnal knowledge--Producing
miscarriage--Enticing female child--Seduction--Marriage a bar to
prosecution--Adultery--Evidence in cases of rape or
seduction--Bigamy--Lewdness--Houses of ill fame--Penalty for
prostitution--Incest--Illegitimate children--Support of--Rendered
legitimate by marriage of parents


Damages under prohibitory liquor law--Parties in actions for
seduction--In actions for injury to minor child--Married women--When
husband or wife deserts family--Husband or wife as
witness--Communications between husband and wife--Women eligible to
office--Police matrons--Right of suffrage


Common law in Iowa--Law will not always protect married women--It may
cause hardship and suffering--Change or modification needed

Common Law



[Sidenote: Common law in force.]

Until a comparatively recent period the laws of England in force at the
time of the independence of the American colonies, relating to married
women, the mutual duties of husband and wife, their property rights and
the care and custody of children, were everywhere in force in this
country except in those states which were originally settled by other
nations than the English.

[Sidenote: Changes.]

The agitation of the last fifty years, caused by the demand for equality
in educational opportunities and in professional, business and trade
relations, as well as for the legal and political recognition of women,
has brought about great changes in these laws, until they are in many
instances almost entirely superseded by statutory enactments more in
accordance with the spirit of justice and in greater harmony with the
requirements of a higher form of civilization. In many states they have
reached a condition in which the legal status of husband and wife is
nearly, if not wholly, one of equality.

[Sidenote: Basis of statue law.]

It must always be borne in mind, however, that the common law is the
foundation upon which almost the entire structure of our American
system of jurisprudence is based, although it is claimed that it has
only been recognized by our courts so far as it has been "applicable to
the habits and conditions of our society and in harmony with the genius,
spirit and objects of our institutions." As it became apparent from time
to time that it was not thus applicable, or where it failed to meet the
requirements of the changed conditions of society the strictness of its
rules was relaxed by giving to them a broader construction, or, when
this could not be done, they were modified or entirely changed by

[Sidenote: Marriage]

Marriage was regarded by the common law as a civil contract and might be
entered into legally by a boy of fourteen or a girl of twelve years of
age, provided they were under no legal disability to contract marriage.
This was called the age of consent, or discretion, and a marriage
contracted prior to this time was inchoate only, and might be repudiated
by either party upon arriving at the legal age. If one of the parties
was above and the other under the required age, the marriage might still
be disaffirmed by either. If after reaching the age of consent the
parties continued to live together as husband and wife, this would be
regarded as an affirmance of the marriage.

[Sidenote: What constitutes.]

The mutual consent of the parties themselves, followed by cohabitation,
was sufficient to constitute a legal marriage, without the observance of
any formalities. The formal ceremonies provided by statute for the
celebration of marriages, and the penalties imposed upon clergymen and
others who married those who had not complied with these formalities,
were solely for the purpose of providing a convenient and certain proof
of marriage, should it be afterwards necessary to establish that fact
by evidence, rather than to invalidate marriages which would otherwise
be legal.

[Sidenote: Dissolution of marriage.]

Having established the marriage relation, it could only be dissolved by
death or divorce granted by act of parliament, or, in this country after
the declaration of independence, by act of legislature. No absolute
divorce could be granted for any cause arising after the marriage, but a
separation might be decreed in case of adultery by either party.

[Sidenote: Subjection of married women.]

By the rules of the common law, the person and property of women were
under the absolute control of their husbands. The maxim, _Uxor non est
juris, sed sub potestate viri_, "a wife is not her own mistress, but is
under the power of her husband," is but an expression of the actual
legal status of a woman from the instant she entered the matrimonial
state, until released therefrom by death or divorce.

[Sidenote: Legally dead.]

Marriage was the act by which she ceased to have a legal existence, by
which, we are told, her very being became incorporated or consolidated
into that of her husband. From the time her identity became thus merged,
she was presumed by the law to be under the protection and influence of
her husband, to be so absolutely and entirely one person with him, that
she had henceforth no life in law apart from his.

[Sidenote: Unity of person.]

The legal fiction of the unity of the persons of husband and wife dates
back to feudal times, and may, perhaps, have been a necessity of the age
and of the peculiar social and political systems of that period. Like
many another law having its inception in a sincere desire to secure the
greatest good to the greatest number, and apparently necessary for that
purpose at the period of social development which gave it birth, it
existed for centuries after it had ceased to result in any benefit or
afford any protection, and after the reason for its being had passed
away and been forgotten.

[Sidenote: Power of husband.]

We are told that at marriage the husband "adopted his wife and her
circumstances together." He might exercise his power over her person by
restraining her of her liberty in case of gross misbehavior, or by
giving her moderate chastisement in the same degree that he might
administer correction to his children. An early decision of one of our
state courts interpreted this to mean that a man might whip his wife
with a switch as large as his finger, but not larger than his thumb,
without being guilty of an assault.

[Sidenote: Disabilities.]

Husband and wife being one person could not contract nor enter into a
business partnership with each other; neither could one convey property
to the other without the intervention of a third party. The wife was
incapable of receiving a legacy unless it was willed to another person
as trustee, for her use and benefit, and if a legacy were paid directly
to her, the husband could compel the executor to pay it again to him.

[Sidenote: Wife's power to contract.]

The wife had no power to contract a legal debt nor to bind herself by
any kind of an agreement, neither could she make her husband liable for
any debt or contract, except for necessaries. These, the husband was
under obligation to provide, and in contracting for them, the law
assumed that the wife was acting as his agent.

[Sidenote: Release of dower.]

She might release her right of dower in lands of her husband, but only
when examined separately she acknowledged that the conveyance or release
was not secured by his influence or coercion.

[Sidenote: Wife's earnings.]

Her earnings though acquired by her individual labor and in a business
separate and apart from her husband belonged to him, and he could
collect them by action. This was the law though husband and wife were
living apart. They could be subjected to the payment of his debts, by
his creditors, and if he died without a will they descended to his heirs
as other personal property. They were not considered the property of the
wife, even in equity, without a clear, express, irrevocable gift, or
some distinct affirmative act of the husband, divesting himself of them
and setting them apart for her separate use.

[Sidenote: Power of conveyance and devise.]

A wife had no power to convey her real property, nor could she devise
her personal property by will, without the consent of her husband.

[Sidenote: Domicile.]

The husband had the legal right to establish his home or domicile in any
part of the world where "his interests, his tastes, his convenience, or
possibly, his caprice might suggest," and it was the wife's duty to
follow him. If she refused to accompany him, no matter upon what ground
she based her refusal, she was guilty of desertion. A promise by the
husband before marriage as to the establishment of the place of
residence of the family, created a moral obligation only and was a mere
nullity in law. Whenever there was a difference of opinion between
husband and wife in regard to the location of the common home, the will
of the wife had to yield to that of the husband. This law of domicile
was based upon the grounds of the "identity of the husband and wife, the
subjection of the wife to the husband, and the duty of the wife to make
her home with her husband."

[Sidenote: Witness.]

Neither husband nor wife was competent as a witness to testify either
for or against the other in civil or criminal cases.

[Sidenote: Husband entitled to society of wife.]

The husband was entitled to the society and services of his wife and he
might bring an action for damages against anyone who harbored her, or
persuaded or enticed her to leave him or live separate from him. If
injuries were wrongfully inflicted upon her, two actions might be
brought against the party responsible for the wrong, one by husband and
wife for the personal injury to the wife, and one by the husband for
loss of the wife's services. In either case, the amount recovered
belonged to the husband.

[Sidenote: Suits at law.]

The wife could neither sue or be sued unless her husband was joined with
her in the suit. A judgment recovered against her alone was void,
because she was unknown to the law apart from her husband. One entered
in her favor became the property of her husband.

[Sidenote: Wife as executor.]

The consent of the husband was necessary to enable a married woman to
act as executor, administrator, guardian or trustee.

[Sidenote: Duty of husband.]

[Sidenote: Liable for anti-nuptial contracts.]

[Sidenote: Torts of wife.]

The husband became responsible for the maintenance of the wife according
to her rank and station, and if he failed to make suitable provision for
her, tradesmen might furnish her with necessaries at her request and
could collect payment from the husband. He was liable for all of her
debts contracted before marriage, and this was the case, though he may
have received no property with her. He was responsible for certain
wrongs committed by her after marriage, such as libel and slander, and
judgment could be recovered against him. If a wrong were committed
jointly by both, action might be brought against the husband alone. When
a judgment was recovered upon contract, or because of the wrongful act
of the wife, if the husband failed to pay it, he might be imprisoned.

[Sidenote: Widow's quarantine.]

After the death of the husband the law gave the widow a right to remain
forty days in his house, during which time her dower might be assigned.
This right was known as the "widow's quarantine."

[Sidenote: Custody of children.]

The father was legally entitled to the custody of his children,--the
right of the mother was never recognized, it being expressly stated by
Blackstone that "a mother, as such, is entitled to no power, but only to
reverence and respect." He might by will appoint a guardian for them
after his death, though yet unborn, and might apprentice them or give
them into the custody of others without the consent of the mother.

[Sidenote: Property rights.]

[Sidenote: Wife's paraphernalia]

All personal property belonging to the wife vested absolutely in the
husband at marriage. He could will it to whom he pleased or, if he died
without a will, it descended to his heirs. Even her wearing apparel and
ornaments known by the term "paraphernalia," belonged to the husband.
During his life he had the power to sell or give them away, but he could
not devise them by will. If they remained in the possession of the wife
while the husband lived, she was entitled to them over and above her
dower, but even then creditors of the husband might claim them, if there
chanced to be a deficiency of other assets with which to pay the debts
of the estate.

[Sidenote: Choses in action.]

The wife's choses in action, or evidences of money or property due to
her, such as notes, bonds, contracts or the like, belonged to the
husband if he reduced them to possession during her life, and they could
be taken for his debts. He might bequeath them by will, but if he died
without a will they descended to his heirs. If he failed to reduce them
to possession while the wife lived, after his death they would revert to
her heirs. If she outlived her husband they belonged to her. After the
husband's death the wife took one-third of his personal estate if there
were children, and one-half if there were no children.

[Sidenote: Real property of wife.]

[Sidenote: Curtesy.]

[Sidenote: Dower.]

The husband was entitled to the control, use and enjoyment, together
with the rents and profits of his wife's real estate during the
marriage, and if a living child were born, he had, after the wife's
death, a life estate in such property and might retain possession of it
while he lived. This was known as the husband's title by curtsy. The
wife took a dower, or life estate in one-third of the husband's lands
after his death, whether there were children or not. This estate of
dower was forfeited should the husband be found guilty of treason, but
his interest in her lands was not disturbed by the treason of the wife.
His life interest in her real estate attached to trust estates, but she
could claim no interest in trust estates of her husband. If the wife
owned leases of land they could be sold or assigned by the husband
during marriage. If he survived his wife they belonged to him, if she
survived him, they belonged to her, provided he had not disposed of them
while living.

[Sidenote: Descent of property.]

Personal property descended to males and females in equal shares, but
the oldest son was entitled to the whole of his father's real property.

[Sidenote: Unity of person in criminal law.]

The unity of husband and wife was not so strongly affirmed by the common
law when it dealt with their relation to criminal matters. When a wife
committed an offense against the state she possessed a separate and
distinct life and personalty, for the purposes of punishment. It is true
that she was still inferior and this distinction was recognized and
emphasized by the difference in the penalties imposed for the commission
of the same crimes, these penalties being in inverse ratio to the
importance of the criminal.

[Sidenote: Theft, burglary, etc.]

[Sidenote: Presumption of innocence.]

If a wife committed theft, burglary or other offenses in the company or
presence of her husband, the law presumed that she acted under
compulsion and held her not guilty, but this presumption did not extend
to cases of murder or treason, and it might always be overcome by proof
that she acted independently. The exception in cases of murder or
treason, we are informed, was not alone because of the magnitude of the
crimes, but rather on account of "the husband having broken through the
most sacred tie of social community by rebellion against the state, had
no right to that obedience from a wife which he himself, as a subject,
had forgotten to pay."

[Sidenote: Murder of wife.]

[Sidenote: Murder of husband.]

If a man murdered his wife it was as if he had murdered a stranger, and
he might avail himself of the benefit of clergy, and secure immunity
from punishment, provided he could read, but women were denied all
benefit of clergy because of their sex, and because they "were not
called upon to read." If a wife killed her husband it was a much more
serious offense, he being her lord, and she was guilty of treason and
subject to the same punishment as if she had killed the king.

[Sidenote: Petit treason.]

In cases of petit treason the penalty depended upon the sex of the
criminal, men being sentenced to be drawn and hanged, while women were
drawn and burnt alive.

[Sidenote: Larceny, bigamy, etc.]

In larceny, bigamy, manslaughter and other crimes, men might claim the
benefit of clergy and by taking holy orders, escape all punishment,
except branding in the hand and a few months imprisonment, while women
might receive sentence of death and be executed for the first offense.
Later the law was changed so that in cases of simple larceny under the
value of ten shillings, they might be burned in the hand and whipped,
stocked or imprisoned for any time not exceeding one year. The
disability of sex and of ignorance were both finally removed and all men
and women admitted to benefit of clergy.

[Sidenote: Adultery and seduction.]

[Sidenote: Rape.]

By the common law, adultery and seduction were not classed with crimes,
but were only civil injuries for which compensation might be recovered
by husband, father or guardian, but the woman, who might be wronged, had
no right of action for the injury to herself, and the State did not
recognize any wrong to society by an injury to the person of one who was
civilly dead. The crime of rape was punishable by death, and consent,
though proved, was no defense, if the offense was committed upon a child
under ten years of age.

[Sidenote: Right of appeal.]

Magna Charta, granted by King John, while redressing many hardships and
grievances incident to feudal times, and confirming and securing to the
people many rights and liberties, among which was the right of the wife
to dower in her husband's property, denied to women the right of appeal
except in case of the death of their husbands. The right of appeal was
the privilege of private prosecution for crime. (Analogus to our present
method of commencing prosecutions by information.)

According to Blackstone, even the disabilities of the wife were for the
most part intended for her protection and benefit, and he adds: "So
great a favorite is the female sex of the laws of England!"

[Sidenote: Reason for discrimination.]

The discrimination made by the common law between men and women, was
based alone upon the assumption that women were, and must be always
dependent by reason of their sex. In the light of a broader humanity,
the distinctions seem cruel and barbarous, but that they were the result
of any spirit of injustice or intentional tyranny, or of any desire on
the part of men to oppress women or impose upon them any hardship or
burden because of their physical weakness, is not at all probable. They
were merely the outgrowth of the conditions incident to ruder stages of
social development, and were, perhaps, as favorable to women at that
period, as the laws of our own times will be considered when judged in
the light of the civilization of the future, after successive centuries
of intellectual and moral growth have been added to the enlightenment of

Law of Iowa.



[Sidenote: Contract.]

Marriage is a civil contract requiring the consent of parties capable of
entering into other contracts, except as herein otherwise declared.
[Sec.3376.] While marriage is defined to be a contract, it is rather a
status or relation assumed by the act of marriage. Society is recognized
as a third party to the agreement and as having a well defined interest
in the duties and obligations of such relation. It is because of this
interest, that the law defines the qualifications of the parties, the
terms, rights and obligations of the contract, and also for what causes
and in what manner it may be terminated. "It stands alone and can be
assimilated to no other contract."

[Sidenote: Between what ages valid.]

A marriage between a male person of sixteen and a female of fourteen
years of age is valid, but if either party has not attained the age thus
fixed, the marriage is a nullity or not at the option of such party made
known at any time before he or she is six months older than the age thus
fixed. [Sec.3377.] The common law rule fixing the age of consent to
marriage at fourteen for males and twelve for females is not repealed in
Iowa. The time in which the parties may disaffirm the marriage is
merely extended by the statute.

[Sidenote: License.]

Previous to any marriage within this state, a license for that purpose
must be obtained from the clerk of the district court of the county
wherein the marriage is to be solemnized. [Sec.3378.] As under the common
law, no express form or ceremony is necessary to constitute a valid
marriage, any mutual agreement between the parties to assume the
relation of husband and wife, followed by cohabitation, being
sufficient, provided there is no legal disability on the part of either
existing at the time. It is immaterial how the intention to marry is
expressed. It has been held in this state that a marriage was legal,
where the woman intended present marriage, though the man did not, where
they had assumed the relation of husband and wife, and his conduct had
been such as to justify her in believing that he had intended present
marriage. Marriages by consent only, are not rendered void by a
provision punishing parties for solemnizing marriages in any other
manner than that prescribed by law.

[Sidenote: Under age.]

[Sidenote: Consent of parent.]

Such license must not in any case be granted where either party is under
the age necessary to render the marriage absolutely valid, nor shall it
be granted where either party is a minor, without the previous consent
of the parent or guardian of such minor, nor where the condition of
either party is such as to disqualify him from making any other civil
contract. [Sec.3379.]

[Sidenote: Proof of age.]

Unless such clerk is acquainted with the age and condition of the
parties for the marriage of whom the license is applied for, he must
take the testimony of competent and disinterested witnesses on the
subject. [Sec.3380.]

[Sidenote: Record.]

He must cause due entry of the application for the issuing of the
license to be made in a book to be procured and kept for that purpose,
stating that he was acquainted with the parties and knew them to be of
competent age and condition, or that the requisite proof of such fact
was made known to him by one or more witnesses, stating their names,
which book shall constitute a part of the records of his office.

[Sidenote: Proof of consent of parent.]

If either party is a minor, the consent of the parent or guardian must
be filed in the clerk's office after being acknowledged by the said
parent or guardian, or proved to be genuine, and a memorandum of such
facts must also be entered in said book. [Sec.3382.]

[Sidenote: Penalty.]

If the clerk of the district court grants a license contrary to the
provisions of the preceding sections, he is guilty of a misdemeanor, and
if a marriage is solemnized without such license being procured, the
parties so married and all persons aiding in such marriage are likewise
guilty of a misdemeanor. [Sec.3883.]

The punishment provided for misdemeanors is imprisonment in the county
jail not more than one year, or by fine not exceeding five hundred
dollars, or by both fine and imprisonment.

[Sidenote: Who may solemnize.]

Marriages must be solemnized either:

1. By a justice of the peace or mayor of the city or incorporated town
wherein the marriage takes place;

2. By some judge of the supreme or district court of this state;

3. By some officiating minister of the gospel ordained or licensed
according to the usages of his denomination. [Sec.3384.]

[Sidenote: Certificate]

After the marriage has been solemnized the officiating minister or
magistrate shall, on request, give each of the parties a certificate
thereof. [Sec.3385.]

[Sidenote: Penalty.]

Marriages solemnized with the consent of parties in any other manner
than is herein prescribed, are valid, but the parties themselves, and
all other parties aiding or abetting, shall forfeit to the school fund
the sum of fifty dollars each. [Sec.3386.]

[Sidenote: Return.]

The person solemnizing marriage shall forfeit a like amount, unless
within ninety days after the ceremony he shall make return thereof to
the clerk of the district court. [Sec.3387.]

[Sidenote: Register of marriages.]

The clerk of the district court shall keep a register containing the
names of the parties, the date of the marriage, and the name of the
person by whom the marriage was solemnized, which, or a certified
transcript therefrom, is receivable in all courts and places as evidence
of the marriage and the date thereof. [Sec.3388] The register of marriages
kept by the clerk is always sufficient to establish marriage, in the
absence of evidence to the contrary, but record evidence is not
indispensable. The fact of marriage may be shown in various ways. It may
be proved by the admissions or uncontradicted testimony of either party,
or a legal presumption may be raised by the testimony of either husband
or wife with proof of continued cohabitation. The evidence of witnesses
who were present and witnessed the marriage is always sufficient.

[Sidenote: Peculiar mode.]

These provisions so far as they relate to procuring licenses and to the
solemnizing of marriages, are not applicable to members of any
particular denomination having, as such, any peculiar mode of entering
the marriage relation [Sec.3389].

[Sidenote: Husband responsible for return.]

But when any mode is thus pursued which dispenses with the services of a
clergyman or magistrate, the husband is responsible for the return
directed to be made to the clerk and is liable to the above named
penalty if the return is not made [Sec.3390].

[Sidenote: When void.]

Marriages between persons whose marriage is prohibited by law, or who
have a husband or wife living, are void; but if the parties live and
cohabit together after the death of the former husband or wife, such
marriage shall be deemed valid [Sec.3392]. A judicial decree is not
necessary to annul a marriage between parties one of whom has a wife or
husband living at the time, as such marriages are absolutely void, nor
does such marriage confer any right upon either in the property of the
other. A marriage procured by fraud or force is void, because it lacks
the essential element of consent. Such marriages may be annulled by a
court of equity, but false representations as to character, social
position or fortune do not constitute such fraud on the opposite party
as to avoid a marriage induced thereby.



[Sidenote: Property rights of married women.]

A married woman may own in her own right, real and personal property
acquired by descent, gift or purchase, and manage, sell, convey, and
devise the same by will, to the same extent and in the same manner that
the husband can property belonging to him. [Sec.3393.] The husband is the
legal head of the family and household furniture, pictures and all
similar property used in the house occupied by husband and wife, is
considered as being in the possession of the husband and under his
control. Such property may be sold or mortgaged by the husband without
the consent of the wife. Property conveyed to both jointly is held by
them as tenants-in-common. Each owns an undivided one-half interest in
such property, and this interest may be sold on execution to satisfy
claims against husband or wife as the case may be. Property purchased
with funds belonging to both husband and wife is owned by them jointly,
the interest of each being in proportion to the amount of the purchase
price contributed by each.

[Sidenote: Real property, Conveyance, or contract.]

A married woman may convey or encumber any real estate or interest
therein belonging to her, and may control the same, or contract with
reference thereto, to the same extent, and in the same manner as other
persons [Sec.3106].

[Sidenote: Conveyance by husband and wife.]

Every conveyance made by a husband and wife shall be deemed sufficient
to pass any and all right of either to the property conveyed, unless the
contrary appears on the face of the conveyance [Sec.3107]. While Iowa was
still a territory, in 1840, power was conferred upon a married woman to
release her dower and to convey her real estate by any conveyance
executed by herself and husband and acknowledged by a separate
examination and acknowledgment. This law was re-enacted in 1846, and was
the first law passed in the State of Iowa for the better protection of
married women. This remained the law until 1851, when an act was passed
by which she might convey her interest in real estate "the same as any
other person."

[Sidenote: Interest of either in other's property.]

When property is owned by either the husband or wife, the other has no
interest therein which can be the subject of contract between them, or
such interest as will make the same liable for the contracts or
liabilities of either the husband or wife who is not the owner of the
property, except as provided in this chapter. [Sec.3394.] The distributive
share or dower interest of each in the property of the other, is
inchoate and becomes complete only upon the death of the owner of the
property; consequently any agreement between the husband and wife
relinquishing their respective interests in each other's property,
though such agreement should be made in contemplation of separation is
invalid. Upon a dissolution of the marriage relation by divorce, the
husband and wife may contract with each other with reference to a
division of the property, provided the contract is reasonable, just and
right. A husband may pay taxes and interest on an incumbrance on a
homestead owned by his wife, but occupied by both, and may make repairs
upon the same. He may make improvements on land owned by the wife and
may expend time and labor in caring for any of her property, without
rendering such property liable for his debts, provided there is no
collusion between them and no evidence of fraud on the part of either.

A wife's property cannot be taken for her husbands debts, although it
may be in possession of the husband and the creditors have no notice of
the wife's ownership.

[Sidenote: Remedy by one against the other.]

Should either the husband or wife obtain possession or control of
property belonging to the other, either before or after marriage, the
owner of the property may maintain an action therefor, or for any right
growing out of the same, in the same manner and extent as if they were
unmarried. [Sec.3395.] If property or money belonging to the wife, but in
possession of the husband is used by him, with her knowledge and
consent, in the payment of debts incurred for family expenses, or for
other purposes connected with the support of the family, she cannot
recover for the same, in the absence of an express agreement on his part
to repay her. If a wife advances money or property to her husband to be
used as he may choose, the presumption is that she does so in view of
the mutual benefits which may accrue from the advancement and she cannot
recover the same unless there is an agreement for its repayment.

[Sidenote: Husband not liable for wife's torts.]

For all civil injuries committed by a married woman, damages may be
recovered from her alone, and her husband shall not be responsible
therefor except in cases where he would be jointly responsible with her
if the marriage did not exist [Sec.3396.] This statute abrogates the rule
of the common law, making a husband responsible for civil injuries
committed by his wife. The common law presumption that criminal acts
done in the presence of the husband were by compulsion, is still
recognized in this State but may be overcome by proof to the contrary.

[Sidenote: Conveyances to each other valid.]

[Sidenote: Conveyances to third parties.]

A conveyance, transfer or lien executed by either husband or wife, to or
in favor of the other shall be valid to the same extent as between other
persons [Sec.3397.] When the rights of creditors might be prejudiced by
transfers of property between husband and wife, such transactions will
be closely scrutinized, and the utmost good faith must plainly appear,
but where no fraudulent intention is shown they will be upheld if based
upon an adequate consideration. If a conveyance is made by the husband
to the wife when the husband is largely indebted and insolvent, such
conveyance is presumptively fraudulent, but a conveyance to a wife in
payment of a valid claim, even though made at a time when the husband is
largely indebted to others, will not be considered fraudulent the wife
having the same right as other creditors to obtain payment. All
contracts between husband and wife where no other consideration appears
than an agreement to perform some duty already incumbent upon the
parties, because of their relations as husband and wife, are against
public policy, and will not be enforced in law. Such, for example, as a
promise by the husband to pay money to the wife to induce her to live
with him, when she has no legal ground for not living with him; or an
agreement to allow the husband to obtain a divorce when he has no legal
cause for divorce, or a conveyance of property in consideration of
future care and support because the husband is growing old; or a
contract between husband and wife by which the husband agrees to pay the
wife at stated intervals, sums of money, in consideration of the
faithful performance by the wife of the obligations incident to the
marriage relation. But our courts have held that exempt property may be
transferred by the husband to the wife without any consideration; that a
deed from husband to wife in consideration of a dismissal by the latter,
of a proceeding for divorce, is valid; that a contract between husband
and wife by which the wife, for a consideration, after a decree of
divorce, agrees to release all her dower interest in the real estate of
the husband, is binding. Voluntary conveyances, in favor of third
parties, by a man or woman in contemplation of marriage, and with the
evident intention of defeating the marital rights of the other party, in
such property, will be held fraudulent, and may be set aside in an
action by the injured party after marriage. Contracts and conveyances
made before marriage and duly recorded, will not be set aside on account
of the marriage relation, as the fact of recording is sufficient to
charge the wife with notice of the transactions. Ante-nuptial contracts,
if free from fraud and imposition, are valid, and such a contract
stipulating that each is to have the untrammeled and sole control of his
or her own property, real and personal, as though no marriage had taken
place, will be enforced. The dower right of each in the other's property
is completely waived by such contract.

[Sidenote: Abandonment of either.]

In case the husband or wife abandons the other and leaves the state, and
is absent therefrom for one year without providing for the maintenance
and support of his or her family, or is confined in jail or the
penitentiary for the period of one year or upward, the district court of
the county where the husband or wife, so abandoned or not confined,
resides, may, on application by petition setting forth fully the facts,
authorize him or her, to manage, control, sell and encumber the property
of the husband or wife for the support and maintenance of the family and
for the purpose of paying debts. Notice of such proceedings shall be
given as in ordinary actions, and anything done under or by virtue of
the order of the court, shall be valid to the same extent as if the same
was done by the party owning the property. [Sec.3398.] A wife who is
abandoned by her husband without her fault, may pledge his credit for
necessaries, and if left in the management of his business may make all
contracts incident to such management. She may also sell exempt property
and apply the proceeds towards the support of the family before
absolutely forced to do so by the destitution of the family.

[Sidenote: Contracts and sales binding.]

All contracts, sales or incumbrances made by either husband or wife by
virtue of the power contemplated in the preceding section, shall be
binding on both, and during such absence or confinement, the person
acting under such power, may sue and be sued thereon, and for all acts
done, the property of both shall be liable. No suit or proceeding shall
abate or be in anywise affected by the return or release of the person
confined, but he or she may be permitted to prosecute or defend jointly
with the other. [Sec.3399.]

[Sidenote: Decree set aside.]

The husband or wife affected by the proceedings contemplated in the
preceding sections, may have the order or decree of the court set aside
or annulled, but the setting aside of such decree or order shall in
nowise affect any act done thereunder. [Sec.3400.]

[Sidenote: Attorney in fact.]

A husband or wife may constitute the other his or her attorney in fact,
to control and dispose of his or her property for their mutual benefit,
and may revoke the same to the same extent and manner as other persons.
[Sec.3401.] The fact of the marital relation does not, of itself, establish
the presumption that the husband is the agent of the wife, for the
transaction of business for her, but in order to bind her, he must be
expressly authorized to act as agent, or she must, after knowledge of
the act, expressly or impliedly ratify it. Such agency or ratification
may be established by circumstances, and the degree of evidence required
in such cases, is less than is necessary to establish an agency between
independent parties, or the ratification by the husband, of acts done by
the wife or his agent.

[Sidenote: Wages of wife.]

A wife may receive the wages of her personal labor and maintain an
action therefor in her own name, and hold the same in her own right; she
may prosecute and defend all actions at law or in equity for the
preservation and protection of her rights and property as if unmarried.
[Sec.3402.] The husband is entitled to the wife's labor and assistance in
the duties and obligations growing out of the marriage relation, and to
her earnings, if she is not engaged in a separate business on her own
account; but her earnings for services performed for others than her
husband or acquired in carrying on an independent business, belong to
her alone. Such earnings may be invested in property and it will be
exempt from seizure for debts of her husband.

She may bring actions for injuries to herself, whether of person,
property or reputation in the same manner as if she were unmarried. If
she suffers personal injury by which the husband is deprived of her
services or society he has a right of recovery for such loss and for
expenses for medicine and medical treatment. The wife cannot recover in
such case, unless it appears that she has expended her own money in
payment of such expenses. If, at the time of the injury she is engaged
in a separate business, and death results, the husband may still recover
for loss of society and expenses, but an action for damages can be
brought only by the administrator of her estate. Although husband or
wife may maintain an action against the other for the recovery of
property, neither has a right of action for damages sustained by the
infliction of personal injury, and this is true even though the one
inflicting the injury has been criminally convicted and fined for the

[Sidenote: Property of one not liable for debts of the other.]

Neither husband or wife is liable for the debts or liabilities of the
other incurred before marriage, and except as herein otherwise declared,
they are not liable for the separate debts of each other; nor are the
wages, earnings, or property of either, nor is the rent or income of
such property liable for the separate debts of the other [Sec.3403.] The
husband is liable for necessaries furnished the wife, upon an implied
obligation to provide for her a reasonable support. The term
"necessaries," is not confined to the supply of things actually demanded
for her sustenance, such as food, clothing and medicine, but includes
all that may be needful for her comfort and happiness according to her
rank and station in society. In determining the extent of the husband's
liability, it is always proper to consider the wife's social position
and the circumstances and condition of the family, and these will, of
course, vary in each particular case. It has been held that jewelry is
included in the term necessaries and that attorney's fees in divorce
proceedings by the wife, can be recovered from the husband. If the wife
is compelled to leave her husband because of cruel and improper conduct
on his part, the husband is still presumed to have extended to her a
general credit for necessaries, such as meat, drink, clothes, medicine,
etc., suitable to his degree and circumstances.

[Sidenote: Contracts of wife.]

Contracts may be made by a wife and liabilities incurred, and the same
enforced by or against her to the same extent and in the same manner as
if she were unmarried [Sec.3404.] By this provision a wife is clothed with
the same rights enjoyed by her husband, and must, therefore, assume the
same liabilities. She has the same freedom to contract in reference to
her property, or other matters, and will be held to the same strict
accountability. The law will enforce her obligations with the same
impartiality, whether such obligations are express or implied. She may
contract with reference to all kinds of property, including real estate,
and may mortgage her property as security for the debt of another, in
precisely the same manner that her husband could do in similar cases.

[Sidenote: Family expenses.]

The expenses of the family and the education of the children are
chargeable upon the property of both husband and wife, or of either of
them, and in relation thereto they may be sued jointly or separately.
[Sec.3405.] Both husband and wife are personally responsible for family
expenses. The credit may be extended to the husband and the contract
made with him alone, and the wife will be liable though she may have no
knowledge of the purchase and has given no consent thereto. It is
sufficient to show that the articles were used, or kept for use in the
family, and a judgment may be rendered against the wife alone. But the
husband cannot subject the property of his wife to any liability for
articles for family use when it appears that such articles were not a
necessity, if the wife has objected to the purchase and notified the
seller that she will not pay for the same. "Expenses of the family," are
not limited to necessary expenses, but whatever is kept or used in the
family is included in the term. A piano, an organ, a watch and other
jewelry, a cook stove and fixtures, have all been held to come within
the term "family expense," for which the property of the wife is liable.
But a reaping machine, though used by the husband in the business by
which he supports his family, is not a legitimate item of family
expense, nor can a plow be included therein. The expense of treatment of
a wife at a hospital for the insane, has been held not to be a family
expense. Money borrowed by the husband and used in the purchase of
articles which, if obtained on credit, would constitute items of family
expense, cannot itself form such an item of family expense, that the
wife may be held liable, unless the money was furnished at her request,
and the account assigned to the party furnishing the money. If a
merchant with whom the husband has no account is notified in writing,
not to sell goods to the wife and charge them to him, the merchant
cannot hold the husband responsible, unless it appears that the latter
fails to provide necessaries otherwise for his family. If the family is
supported in whole, or in part, by the wife, she cannot recover back the
money thus expended, from her husband or his estate, as the law places
such duty equally on both.

[Sidenote: Removal from homestead.]

Neither husband nor wife can remove the other, nor their children from
their homestead without his or her consent, and if he abandons her, she
is entitled to the custody of their minor children, unless the district
court, upon application for that purpose, shall, for good cause,
otherwise direct [Sec.3406.]

[Sidenote: Conveyance of property.]

When either the husband or wife is insane, and incapable of executing a
deed, and relinquishing or conveying his or her right to the real
property of the other, the sane person may petition the district court
of the county where such petitioner resides, or of the county where said
real estate is situated, setting forth the facts and praying for an
order authorizing the applicant or some other person to execute a deed
of conveyance and thereby relinquish the interest of either in the real
property of the other [Sec.3407.]

[Sidenote: Proceedings and decree.]

Upon such application the court has power to appoint some person or
attorney guardian of the person alleged to be insane, who shall
ascertain as to the propriety, good faith and necessity of the prayer of
the petitioner, and who shall have power to resist said application. If
the court is satisfied that the petition is made in good faith, and that
the petitioner is the proper person to exercise the power and make the
conveyance, and that such power is necessary and proper, said court
shall enter up a decree authorizing the execution of all such
conveyances, for and in the name of such husband or wife, by such person
as the court may appoint [Sec.Sec.3408-3409.]

[Sidenote: Appointment, Revocation.]

All deeds executed by the person thus appointed shall be valid in law,
and shall convey the interest of such insane person in the real estate
so conveyed; said power shall cease and become void as soon as he or she
shall become sane and of sound mind, and apply to the court to revoke
said power, and the same shall be evoked; but such revocation shall in
nowise affect conveyances previously made. [Sec.3410.]



[Sidenote: Jurisdiction.]

The district court where either party resides, has, jurisdiction of the
subject matter of this chapter. [Sec.3411]. State legislatures have power
to grant divorces in all cases where such power has not been conferred
on the courts of the state by some constitutional provision or
legislative enactment. The legislature of this state has been deprived
of the power to grant divorces for any cause by Article 3, Sec.27, of the
constitution, which provides that "no divorce shall be granted by the
general assembly." A divorce obtained from a court not having
jurisdiction is absolutely void. The residence necessary to give the
court jurisdiction must be permanent, or at least of a sufficient period
of time to indicate an intention of continued residence and
citizenship. The general rule is that the domicile of the wife and
children is to be considered the same as that of the husband, but in a
proceeding for divorce the law recognizes that husband and wife have
separate domiciles, and a valid divorce may be granted where only one of
the parties resides, but if they reside in different states, the court
having jurisdiction of the party making application for the divorce may
grant the decree, but it has no authority to make a decree as to the
custody of the children, if they are non-residents of the state where
the decree of divorce is rendered. A decree of divorce can always be set
aside for fraud in obtaining it.

[Sidenote: Petition.]

When the application for divorce is against a party not residing in this
state, the petition, in addition to the facts on account of which the
applicant claims the relief sought, must state that such applicant has
been for the last year a resident of the state, stating the town and
county in which he has resided, and the length of his residence therein,
after deducting all absences from the state; that he is now a resident
thereof; that such residence has been in good faith and not for the
purpose of obtaining a divorce only; and it must in all cases state that
the application is made in good faith and for the purpose set forth in
the petition. [Sec.3412.]

[Sidenote: Verification. Evidence. Hearing.]

All the allegations of the petition must be verified by oath and proved
by competent evidence. No divorce shall be granted on the evidence of
the applicant alone, and all such actions shall be heard in open court
on the testimony of witnesses or depositions. [Sec.3413.] No divorce can be
granted by consent of parties unless grounds therefor can be shown by
competent evidence, and if collusion or conrivance on the part of the
defendant can be shown, such fact will be a valid defense.

[Sidenote: Causes.]

Divorce from the bonds of matrimony may be decreed against the husband
for the following causes:

1. When he has committed adultery subsequent to the marriage;

2. When he wilfully deserts his wife and absents himself without a
reasonable cause for the space of two years;

3. When he is convicted of felony after the marriage;

4. When, after marriage, he becomes addicted to habitual drunkenness;

5. When he is guilty of such inhuman treatment as to endanger the life
of his wife. [Sec.3414.]

A previous law of our state provided that when it was fully apparent to
the court that the parties could not live in peace and happiness
together, and that their welfare required a separation, a decree of
divorce might be granted, but no valid divorce can now be granted for
any other cause than for some one of those enumerated above; and this is
true, although it may plainly appear that a party has wholly disregarded
his marriage vows and obligations in various other ways.


As the direct fact of adultery can seldom be proved, when a divorce is
asked on this ground, it will be sufficient if the fact can be shown by
circumstances which would be inconsistent with any rational theory of
innocence, and such as would lead the guarded discretion of a just mind
to the conclusion of the truth of the facts. The disposition of the
parties may be shown, with the fact of their being together and having
an opportunity to commit the act.

[Sidenote: Desertion.]

A reasonable cause for desertion must be some wrongful conduct on the
part of the other party, and must be of such a serious nature that it
would _prima facie_ entitle the party deserting to a divorce. If husband
and wife mutually agree to separate, such separation will not constitute
ground for divorce, unless the party applying for the divorce, in good
faith expresses a desire to live with the other. Where the wife is
compelled to leave her husband on account of inhuman treatment, such as
would entitle her to a divorce, such desertion cannot be made the basis
of proceedings for divorce by the husband, for in such case he and not
she is guilty of desertion, and this may be alleged by the wife, with
other causes, in seeking a divorce. A wife may be justified in leaving
her husband because of his failure to protect her from insult and abuse,
and when she leaves him for this cause, her desertion will not be
grounds for divorce.

[Sidenote: Felony.]

A conviction for felony which may be subject to reversal does not
constitute ground for divorce, but such conviction must be final and

[Sidenote: Drunkenness.]

If a woman marries a man knowing him to be intemperate, though she does
so in the hope of reforming him, the courts will not interfere after
marriage to grant her relief from the result of her misplaced
confidence, but where the habit has been acquired subsequent to the
marriage and has become fixed and the husband is habitually drunk,
though not in such condition during business hours, it is such habitual
drunkenness as will entitle the wife to a divorce.

[Sidenote: Cruel treatment.]

Cruel and inhuman treatment, to constitute ground for divorce must be of
such a nature as to endanger life, but need not necessarily consist of
physical violence. Even where no single act or number of acts can be
shown which might cause reasonable apprehension of harm to life, if the
ill treatment as an entirety is of a nature to affect the mind and
undermine health to such a degree that the life will be ultimately
endangered, it will entitle the injured party to a divorce. Ungovernable
outbursts of rage, the use of profane and obscene language, applying
insulting epithets to the wife in the presence of others, acts of
cruelty and neglect in sickness, coupled with failure to provide
suitable food and clothing, have all been held to be such cruelty,
which, if long continued, would result in danger to life. Condonation is
always a valid defense in proceedings for divorce. If the wrong is once
forgiven, it cannot afterwards be made a ground for divorce, but the
mere fact that a wife continues to live in the same house with her
husband, and does the household work, is not such condonation as will
defeat her action.

[Sidenote: Husband from wife.]

The husband may obtain a divorce from his wife for like causes, and also
when the wife at the time of the marriage was pregnant by another than
her husband, unless such husband had an illegitimate child or children
then living, which was unknown to the wife at the time of the marriage.
[Sec.3415.] In many other states, divorce will be granted to the husband,
for the cause here named, but in no other state is it provided that in
such case, a husband who had an illegitimate child at the time of the
marriage, unknown to the wife, cannot take advantage of this fact to
obtain a divorce.

[Sidenote: Cross petition.]

The defendant may obtain a divorce for the causes as above stated, by
filing a cross petition. [Sec.3416.]

[Sidenote: Maintenance during litigation.]

The court may order either party to pay the clerk a sum of money for the
separate support and maintenance of the adverse party and the children,
and to enable such party to prosecute or defend the action. [Sec.3417.] In
applying for an order granting temporary alimony it is not necessary to
show that the party making the application is entitled to a divorce. It
is sufficient if it appears that such party is without means of support
and unable to prosecute the action without such allowance. The fact of
marriage must be either admitted or proved. The court may allow
attorney's fees in proceedings for divorce and alimony, but the party
against whom the action is brought, is not liable, if the other party is
unsuccessful. Where the applicant for divorce is ordered to pay a
certain sum of money to enable the defendant to defend, it he fails to
obey this order, the action may be dismissed.

If it appears that the father is an unfit person to have the custody of
the children, pending a proceeding for divorce, the court has power to
provide for their custody and maintenance as may be for the best
interest of the children.

[Sidenote: Attachment.]

A judgment or order for temporary alimony is a lien upon the property of
the person against whom the order is directed, and such property may be
levied upon by attachment and held to satisfy the decree of the court.
[Sec.3418.] Attachment may be allowed without bond and it may be granted in
a suit to annul an illegal marriage as well as in one for divorce. It
may be levied on the homestead as well as other property. The
disposition of property by the defendant may also be restrained by

[Sidenote: Showing.]

In making such orders, the court or judge shall take into consideration
the age, condition, sex and pecuniary condition of the parties, and such
other matters as are deemed pertinent, which may be shown by affidavits
in addition to the pleadings or otherwise, as the court or judge may
direct. [Sec.3419.]

[Sidenote: Alimony, Custody of children, Changes.]

When a divorce is decreed, the court may make such order in relation to
the children, property, parties, and the maintenance of the parties as
shall be right and proper. Subsequent changes may be made by the court,
in these respects when circumstances render them expedient. [Sec.8420.] In
granting a divorce, full power is given the court over the questions of
permanent alimony and custody of children, and the amount of alimony
will be determined by a careful consideration of the circumstances of
the parties. The allowance is usually for a certain sum of money, but
the court may set apart a specific portion of property as alimony. Only
in rare cases and under peculiar circumstances will alimony be granted
to the party in fault. A judgment for alimony may be made a lien upon
specific property, and the court may declare it a lien on the homestead.
The court granting a divorce and alimony retains jurisdiction of the
same, and upon a subsequent change in the circumstances of the parties,
may modify or change the decree in relation to alimony and custody of
children as may seem just and proper and for the best interests of all
parties. A suit for alimony without divorce may be brought, where the
wife has been compelled to leave her husband on account of misconduct on
his part justifying the separation. The disposition of the children is
entirely within the discretion of the court, and the custody may be
given to either party or may be taken from both and given to a guardian,
if it can be shown that neither parent is a proper person to care for
them. The best good of the child will be the first and most important
consideration in determining to whom the custody shall be given.

[Sidenote: Forfeiture.]

When a divorce is decreed the guilty party forfeits all rights acquired
by the marriage. [Sec.3421.] After a decree of divorce neither party can
have any interest in the property of the other except that which is
granted by the decree, and this applies to claim for dower in case of

[Sidenote: Annulling illegal marriages.]

Marriages may be annulled for the following causes:

1. Where marriage between the parties is prohibited by law.

2. Where either party was impotent at the time of the marriage.

3. Where either party has a husband or wife at the time of the marriage,
provided they have not continued to live and cohabit together after the
death of the former husband or wife.

4. Where either party was insane or idiotic at the time of the marriage.
[Sec.3422.] If a person marries who has a husband or wife living such
marriage is absolutely void. In case of absence of the husband a
presumption of death does not arise until he has been absent seven years
without intelligence concerning him. Where a party is insane or idiotic,
and is therefore incapable of consenting, a marriage with such person
will be void. When a marriage is absolutely void by law, it is not
necessary to bring an action to annul it, before contracting a
subsequent legal marriage.

[Sidenote: Petition.]

A petition shall be filed in such cases as in actions for divorce, and
all the provisions of this chapter shall apply to such cases except as
otherwise provided. [Sec.3423]

[Sidenote: Validity determined.]

When the validity of a marriage is doubted, either party may file a
petition and the court shall decree it annulled or affirmed according
to the proof. [Sec.3424]

[Sidenote: Children. Legitimacy.]

When a marriage is annulled on account of the consanguinity or affinity
of the parties, or because of impotency, the issue shall be
illegitimate, but when on account of non-age, or insanity, or idiocy,
the issue is the legitimate issue of the party capable of contracting
marriage. [Sec.3425]

[Sidenote: Prior marriage.]

When a marriage is annulled on account of a prior marriage, and the
parties contracted the second in good faith, believing the prior husband
or wife to be dead, that fact shall be stated in the degree of nullity;
and the issue of the second marriage, begotten before the decree of the
court, is the legitimate issue of the parent capable of contracting.

[Sidenote: Alimony.]

In case either party entered into the contract of marriage in good
faith, supposing the other to be capable of contracting, and the
marriage is declared a nullity, such fact shall be entered in the
decree, and the court may decree such innocent party compensation as in
cases of divorce. [Sec.3427.]



[Sidenote: Majority.]

The period of minority extends in males to the age of twenty-one years,
and in females to that of eighteen, but all minors attain their majority
by marriage. [Sec.3428.] The disability of minority may also be terminated
by death.

[Sidenote: Contracts.]

[Sidenote: Disaffirmance.]

A minor is bound not only by contracts for necessaries, but also for
his other contracts, unless he disaffirms them within a reasonable time
after he attains his majority, and restores to the other party all money
or property received by him by virtue of the contract and remaining
within his control at any time after his attaining his majority.
[Sec.3429.] The rule respecting the contract of an infant is, that when the
court can pronounce it to be to the infant's prejudice, it is void, and
when to his benefit, as for necessaries, it is good, and when of
uncertain nature, it is voidable, at the election of the infant. As to
what will be "a reasonable time," within which a minor must disaffirm
his contract, must depend upon the peculiar circumstances of each case.
In case of the marriage of a minor the time for disaffirmance will
commence from the date of the marriage. The intention of this law is to
limit the time in which a minor may take advantage of his minority and
disaffirm his contracts, but the disaffirmance may be either before or
after majority, if within a reasonable time after becoming of age. The
minor is under no obligation to restore money or property, unless it is
the identical money or property received by virtue of the contract, and
he may therefore disaffirm his contract without rendering back the
consideration, if such consideration is no longer under his control.

[Sidenote: Misrepresentations. Engaging in business.]

No contract can be thus disaffirmed in cases, where on account of the
minor's own misrepresentations as to his majority, or from his having
engaged in business as an adult, the other party had good reason to
believe the minor capable of contracting. [Sec.3430.] If the fact of
minority is known to the other party, the minor will not be bound by his
contracts, although he may be engaged in business as an adult. The fact
that he is engaged in business on his own account will alone be
sufficient evidence to authorize others to conclude that he has attained
his majority and will make all contracts to which he is a party, binding
upon him.

[Sidenote: Natural guardians.]

The parents are the natural guardians of their minor children and are
equally entitled to the care and custody of them. [Sec.3432.] While a
parent is the natural guardian of his child, this guardianship is not
absolute, and may be lost by any misconduct on the part of the parent
which would render it not best for the child to remain in his care and
under his control. The duty of furnishing support to minor children
rests equally upon both parents, but neither one is legally liable for
the support of their adult children. An adult child living at home in
the family of the parent, being supported as a member of the family, and
performing services in the household, cannot recover payment for such
services in the absence of an express contract on the part of the parent
to pay for them. A stepfather stands in the position of a parent to the
children of his wife by a former husband, _provided_, he receives them
into his family. He is entitled to their services and is responsible for
their education and maintenance. The parents can at any time consent to
surrender the custody of their minor children and transfer this custody
to another by agreement. Articles of adoption properly executed
according to the requirements of the law upon that subject, are
necessary to invest another with the rights and responsibilities of a

[Sidenote: Surviving parent, Guardian appointed.]

Either parent dying before the other, the survivor becomes the guardian.
If there be no parent or guardian qualified and competent to discharge
the duty, the district court shall appoint a guardian. [Sec.3488.]

[Sidenote: Of property.]

If the minor has property not derived from either parent, a guardian
must be appointed to manage such property, which may be either parent,
if suitable and proper. [Sec.3434.]

[Sidenote: Minor may choose.]

If the minor be over the age of fourteen years and of sound intellect,
he may select his own guardian, subject to the approval of the district
court of the county where his parents, or either of them resides; or, if
such minor is living separate and apart from his parents, the district
court of the county where he resides has jurisdiction. [Sec.3435.]

[Sidenote: Powers.]

Guardians of the persons of minors have the same power and control over
them that parents would have if living. [Sec.3440.]

[Sidenote: Duties.]

Guardians of the property of minors must prosecute and defend for their
wards. They must also in other respects manage their interests under the
direction of the court. They may thus lease their lands or loan their
money during their minority, and may do all other acts which the court
may deem for the benefit of the ward. [Sec.3441.] All power of the guardian
over the estate of his ward is derived from the appointment of the
court, but an appointment as guardian will not authorize a sale of
property, nor an investment or disposal of money belonging to the ward,
without a special order of the court. All expenses for the education and
maintenance of the ward must be kept within the income of his estate. If
this should not be sufficient the principal may be resorted to, but not
without an order of the court. All transactions between guardian and
ward, where the former has secured an apparent advantage, by way of
gift, or contract or settlement, will be presumed to have been the
result of undue influence, and will be set aside by a court of equity,
unless it can be shown that they were made in good faith and for a fair
and valuable consideration.

[Sidenote: Property in state.]

The foreign guardian of any non-resident minor, may be appointed the
guardian in this state of such minor, by the district court of the
county wherein he has any property, for the purpose of selling or
otherwise controlling that and all other property of such minor within
the state, unless a guardian has previously been appointed under the
preceding section. The foreign guardian of any non-resident idiot,
lunatic or person of unsound mind may be appointed the guardian of such
ward by the district court in like manner and with like effect in all
cases where the foreign guardian of a non-resident minor could be
appointed the guardian of such minor in this state. Such guardian shall
have the same powers and be subject to the same liabilities as guardians
of resident minors. [Sec.3457.]

[Sidenote: Guardians of drunkards, spendthrifts and lunatics.]

When a petition is presented to the district court, verified by
affidavit, that any inhabitant of the county is:

1. An idiot, lunatic, or person of unsound mind;

2. An habitual drunkard incapable of managing his affairs;

3. A spendthrift who is squandering his property, and the allegations of
the petition have been satisfactorily proved upon the trial, such court
may appoint a guardian of the property of any such person, who shall be
the guardian of the minor children of his ward, unless the court
otherwise orders. Such court may also appoint the guardian of the
property of an habitual drunkard as the guardian of his person. If the
person adjudged to be an habitual drunkard has no property, the court
may appoint a guardian of his person. [Sec.3463 Sup.]

[Sidenote: Order for restraint of drunkard.]

The district court or any judge thereof, may, from time to time, enter
such orders as may be necessary, authorizing the guardian of the person
of such habitual drunkard to confine and restrain him in such manner and
in such place within the state as may, by the court or judge, be
considered best for the purpose of preventing such drunkard from using
intoxicating liquors, and as may tend to his reformation. [Sec.3468a Sup.]
When it is sought to have a guardian appointed for a person of unsound
mind, the test of his mental capacity is not the degree of prudence and
foresight he manifests in the management of his affairs, for "the law
does not assume to measure the different degrees of power of the human
intellect, or to distinguish between them where the power of thought and
reason exists," but the question to be determined is whether or not he
possesses sufficient ability to understand in a reasonable manner the
nature and effect of his acts, or the business he is transacting.
"Although the mind of an individual may be to some extent impaired by
age or disease, still, if he is capable of transacting his ordinary
business, if he understands the nature of the business in which he is
engaged and the effect of what he is doing and can exercise his will
with reference thereto, his acts will be valid," and he will not be
adjudged to be of unsound mind and incapable of managing his business

[Sidenote: Real estate sold. Allowance to family.]

Whenever the sale of the real estate of such ward is necessary for his
support or the support of his family or the payment of his debts, or
will be for the interest of his estate or children, the guardian may
sell the same under like proceedings as required by law to authorize the
sale of real estate by the guardian of a minor. The court shall, if
necessary, set off to the wife and children under fifteen years of age,
of the insane person or to either sufficient of his property of such
kind as it shall deem appropriate to support them for twelve months from
the time he was adjudged insane. [Sec.3467.]

[Sidenote: Custody]

The priority of claim to the custody of any insane person, habitual
drunkard, or spendthrift aforesaid, shall be:

1. The legally appointed guardian.

2. The husband or wife.

3. The parents.

4. The children. [Sec.3470.]



[Sidenote: Minors.]

Any minor child may be bound to service until the attainment of the age
of legal majority as hereinafter described. [Sec.3471.]

[Sidenote: Indenture.]

Such binding must be by written indenture, specifying the age of the
minor and the terms of agreement. If the minor is more than twelve years
of age and not a pauper, the indenture must be signed by him of his own
free will. [Sec.3472.]

[Sidenote: Consent of parent or guardian.]

A written consent must be appended to or endorsed upon such agreement,
and signed by one of the following persons, to-wit:

1. By the father of the minor; but if he is dead or has abandoned his
family, or is for any cause incapacitated from giving his assent, then

2. By the mother; and if she be dead or unable, or incapacitated for
giving such assent, then,

3. By the guardian; and if there be no guardian, then by the clerk of
the district court. [Sec.3473.]

[Sidenote: Natural guardian removed.]

Upon complaint being made to the district court of the proper county,
verified by affidavit, that the father or mother of a minor child is
from habitual intemperance and vicious and brutal conduct, or from
vicious, brutal and criminal conduct toward said minor child, an
unsuitable person to retain the guardianship and control the education
of such child, the court may, if it find the allegations in the
complaint manifestly true, appoint a proper guardian for the child, and
may if expedient, also direct that said child be bound as an apprentice
to some suitable person until he attains his majority. But nothing
herein shall be so construed as to take such minor child if the mother
be a proper guardian. [Sec.3492.]

The same proceedings may take place and a like order be made, when the
mother, who for any cause became the guardian of her minor child, is in
like manner found to be manifestly an improper person to retain such
guardianship. [Sec.3493.]

[Sidenote: Schooling and treatment of minors.]

The master shall send said minor child, after the same be six years old,
to school at least four months in each year, if there be a school in the
district, and at all times the master shall clothe the minor in a
comfortable and becoming manner. [Sec.3497.]

[Sidenote: Adoption of children. Who may adopt.]

Any person competent to make a will is authorized in manner hereinafter
set forth, to adopt as his own the minor child of another, conferring
thereby upon such child all the rights, privileges and responsibilities
which would pertain to the child if born to the person adopting, in
lawful wedlock. [Sec.3498.]

[Sidenote: Consent of parents or officer.]

In order thereto, the consent of both parents if living and not divorced
or separated, and if divorced or separated, or, if unmarried, the
consent of the parent lawfully having the care and providing for the
wants of the child, or if either parent is dead, then the consent of the
survivor, or if both parents be dead, or the child shall have been and
remain abandoned by them, then the consent of the mayor of the city
where the child is living, or if not in a city, then the clerk of the
district court of the county where the child is living, shall be given
to such adoption, by an instrument in writing signed by the parties or
party consenting, and stating the names of the parents, if known, the
name of the child, if known, the name of the person adopting such child,
and the residence of all, if known, and declaring the name by which such
child is hereafter to be called and known, and stating also that such
child is to be given to the person adopting, for the purpose of adoption
as his own child. [Sec.3499]

[Sidenote: Instrument acknowledged and recorded.]

Such instrument in writing shall be also signed by the person adopting
and shall be acknowledged by all parties thereto in the same manner as
deeds affecting real estate are required to be acknowledged; and shall
be recorded in the recorder's office in the county where the person
adopting resides, and shall be indexed with the name of the parents by
adoption as grantors and the child as grantee, in its original name if
stated in the instrument, [Sec.3500.] A strict compliance in every
particular with the provisions of the statutes is essential to
constitute a legal adoption and to confer upon the adopted child rights
of inheritance. If a minor child has a guardian his consent must be
obtained before the child can be legally adopted.

[Sidenote: Effect.]

Upon the execution, acknowledgment and filing for record of such
instrument, the rights, duties and relations between the parent and
child by adoption, shall, thereafter, in all respects, including the
right of inheritance, be the same that exists by law between parent and
child by lawful birth. [Sec.3501]. The right of a child by adoption to
inherit from the parents by adoption, depends upon a strict compliance
with the requirements of the law in every particular, including the
acknowledgment and recording of the articles of adoption. It is also
essential that the instrument shall be filed for record before the death
of the adopted parent and while the child is a minor. A child by
adoption does not lose the right to inherit from his natural parents,
but is entitled to all rights of inheritance from both natural and
adopted parents.

[Sidenote: Maltreatment.]

In case of maltreatment committed or allowed by the adopted parent, or
palpable neglect of duty on his part, toward such child, the custody
thereof may be taken from him and entrusted to another at his expense,
if so ordered by the district court of the county where the parent
resides; or the court may, on showing of the facts, require from the
adopted parent, bond with security, in a sum to be fixed by him, the
county being the obligee, and for the benefit of the child, conditioned
for the proper treatment and performance of duty towards the child on
the part of the parent; but no action of the court in the premises shall
affect or diminish the acquired right of inheritance on the part of the
child, to the extent of such right in a child of natural birth. [Sec.3502.]

[Sidenote: Home for the friendless Powers.]

Any home for the friendless incorporated under the laws of this state,
shall have authority to receive, control and dispose of minor children,
under the following provisions. In case of the death or legal incapacity
of the father, or in case of his abandoning or neglecting to provide for
his children, the mother shall be considered their legal guardian for
the purpose of making surrender of them to the charge and custody of
such corporation; and in all cases where the person or persons legally
authorized to act as the guardian or guardians of any child are not
known, the mayor of the town or city where such home is located, may, in
his discretion, surrender such child to said home. [Sec.3503.]

[Sidenote: Surrender of child.]

In case it shall be shown to any judge of a court of record, or to the
mayor, or to any justice of the peace, within such city or town, that
the father of any child is dead, or has abandoned his family, or is an
habitual drunkard, or imprisoned for crime, and the mother of such child
is an habitual drunkard or is in prison for crime, or the inmate of a
house of ill-fame, or is dead or has abandoned her family, or that the
parents of any child have abandoned or neglected to provide for it, then
such judge, mayor, or justice of the peace may, if he thinks the welfare
of the child requires it, surrender such child to said home. [Sec.3504]

[Sidenote: Home becomes guardian.]

When a child has been surrendered to any home for the friendless
according to the provisions of these sections, such home becomes the
legal guardian of such child, and may exercise the rights and authority
of parents over such children and may apprentice or provide for the
adoption of the same. [Sec.3505.]



[Sidenote: Who may make wills.]

[Sidenote: Of what property]

Any person of full age and sound mind may dispose, by will, of all his
property except what is sufficient to pay his debts, or what is allowed
as a homestead, or otherwise given by law as privileged property to his
wife and family. [Sec.3522.] The validity of a will depends upon the mental
capacity of a testator and the fact that he was uninfluenced in making
the disposition of his property. If it appears that the testator was
incapable of exercising discretion and sound judgment and of fully
realizing the effect and consequences of the will, though he may not be
absolutely insane, he will not be in such mental condition that he can
make a legal will. If he is of weak mind and it appears that he was
imposed upon or unduly influenced, such facts will invalidate the will.
A testator having testamentary capacity may dispose of his property in
any manner, and to any person he may choose, and may deprive his heirs
of any share in his estate, without any explanation or any express
declaration of disinheritance. The fact that a will is unjust and
unreasonable, in the absence of proof of undue influence, or
insufficient capacity, will not render the will void.

[Sidenote: Subsequent property.]

Property to be subsequently acquired may be devised when the intention
is clear and explicit. [Sec.3523.] If the intention to convey property
acquired after the execution of the will is apparent or may be inferred
from a fair construction of the language used, it will be sufficient,
although the intention may not be directly expressed.

[Sidenote: Verbal wills.]

Personal property to the value of three hundred dollars may be
bequeathed by a verbal will, if witnessed by two competent witnesses.

[Sidenote: Soldier or mariner.]

A soldier in actual service, or a mariner at sea, may dispose of all his
personal estate by a will so made and witnessed. [Sec.3525.]

[Sidenote: In writing. Witnessed. Signed.]

All other wills, to be valid, must be in writing, witnessed by two
competent witnesses and signed by the testator, or by some other person
in his presence and by his express direction. [Sec.3526.] It is necessary
that the witnesses shall subscribe the will, but not that they shall
have any knowledge of its contents, nor that they shall see the testator
sign it. It is sufficient if the signature is adopted or acknowledged in
their presence. If a will is made with the intention of disposing of
real property it must be executed according to the requirements of the
laws of the state where the real property is situated.

[Sidenote: Interest of witness.]

No subscribing witness to any will can derive any benefit therefrom,
unless there be two disinterested and competent witnesses to the same.
[Sec.3527.] But if, without a will, he would be entitled to any portion of
the testator's estate, he may still receive such portion to the extent
in value of the amount devised. [Sec.3528.]

[Sidenote: Revocation.]

Wills can be revoked in whole or in part, only by being canceled or
destroyed by the act or direction of the testator with the intention of
so revoking them, or by the execution of subsequent wills. [Sec.3529.] The
birth of a child after the execution of a will but before the death of
the testator, operates as a revocation of the will, and the birth and
recognition of an illegitimate child has the same effect. Declarations
of the testator to the effect that he intended to revoke the will, will
not be sufficient to prove a cancellation.

[Sidenote: Cancellation.]

When done by cancellation, the revocation must be witnessed in the same
manner as the making of a new will. [Sec.3530.]

[Sidenote: Executors.]

If no executors are named in the will, one or more may be appointed to
carry it into effect. [Sec.3532.]

[Sidenote: Posthumous children.]

Posthumous children unprovided for by the father's will, shall inherit
the same interest as though no will had been made. [Sec.3534.]

[Sidenote: Heirs of a devisee.]

If a devisee die before the testator, his heirs shall inherit the amount
so devised to him unless from the terms of the will a contrary intent is
manifest. [Sec.3537.] The word heir in this section does not include the
widow of the testator, and she cannot inherit from a child to whom
property has been devised by his father, but who has died before the

[Sidenote: Married women.]

A married woman may act as executor independent of her husband. [Sec.3545.]

[Sidenote: Minors.]

If a minor under eighteen years of age is appointed executor, there is a
temporary vacancy as to him until he reaches that age. [Sec.3546.]

[Sidenote: Administration. Who entitled. Order.]

In other cases where an executor is not appointed by will,
administration shall be granted:

1. To the wife of the deceased;

2. To his next of kin;

3. To his creditors;

4. To any other person whom the court may select. [Sec.3555.]

[Sidenote: Classes united.]

Individuals belonging to the same or different classes, may be united as
administrators whenever such course is deemed expedient. [Sec.3556.]

[Sidenote: Time allowed.]

To each of the above classes in succession a period of twenty days,
commencing with the burial of the deceased, is allowed within which to
apply for administration upon the estate. [Sec.3557.]



[Sidenote: Exempt personal property.]

When the deceased leaves a widow, all the personal property which, in
his hands as head of the family, would be exempt from execution, after
being inventoried and appraised, shall be set apart to her as her
property in her own right, and be exempt in her hands as in the hands of
the decedent. [Sec.3575.] This provision secures an advantage to the wife
which does not exist in favor of the husband. Upon the death of the wife
all personal property belonging to her, whether exempt or not, passes to
her administrator to be distributed by him among her heirs. A widow is
not entitled to pension money, although the same was exempt in the hands
of her husband, the exemption being for the benefit of the pensioner as
such, and not as head of a family.

[Sidenote: Life insurance.]

The avails of any life insurance or any other sum of money made payable
by any mutual aid or benevolent society upon the death of a member of
such society, are not subject to the debts of the deceased, except by
special contract or arrangement, but shall in other respects, be
disposed of like other property left by the deceased. [Sec.3576.] A policy
of insurance on the life of an individual, in the absence of an
agreement or assignment to the contrary shall inure to the separate use
of the husband or wife and children of said individual, independently of
his or her creditors. And the avails of all policies of insurance on the
life of an individual payable to his surviving widow, shall be exempt
from liabilities for all debts of such beneficiary contracted prior to
the death of the deceased, provided that in any case the total exemption
for the benefit of any one person shall not exceed the sum of five
thousand dollars. [Sec.1756, Sup.] The contract between the assured and the
insurance company, cannot be changed in any particular without the
consent of the company, and a testator cannot, by will, change the
beneficiary named in the policy unless it is expressly so provided in
the contract. Where a policy is made payable to the assured or his legal
representatives, the proceeds of the policy will pass to the
administrator of his estate, and will be paid to the wife and children,
but no part can be distributed to other heirs. If the assured leaves a
wife or husband and no children, the entire proceeds of the policy will
go to the wife or husband, and after they have passed into the hands of
the beneficiary, they will not be subject to execution for the payment
of his or her debts, provided they do not exceed the sum of five
thousand dollars.

A wife is not her husband's "legal heir" and the entire proceeds of a
policy or certificate of insurance made payable to the assured or his
"legal heirs" will go to the children of the deceased.

[Sidenote: Allowance to widow and children.]

The court shall if necessary, set off to the widow and children under
fifteen years of age, of the decedent, or to either, sufficient of the
property of such kind as it shall deem appropriate to support them for
twelve months from the time of his death. [Sec.3579.] The allowance to the
widow takes priority over all other claims against the estate, and
should be paid immediately. If the widow and children have no other
means of support the allowance may be made though the estate is
insolvent. It is no part of the dower interest, but is a separate and
distinct right which may be made in addition to dower, or even in cases
where by contract made before marriage, all rights to dower and
inheritance have been relinquished. Real estate may be sold if
necessary, where the personal property is not sufficient to provide for
the allowance to the widow and children, and the widow may claim the
allowance although there are no children, and she may have property of
her own, if the income of such property is not sufficient for her

[Sidenote: Expenses of funeral.]

As soon as the executors are possessed of sufficient means, over and
above the expenses of administration, they shall pay off the charges of
the last sickness and funeral of deceased. [Sec.3622.]

[Sidenote: Allowance.]

They shall, in the next place, pay any allowance which may be made by
the court for the maintenance of the widow and minor children. [Sec.3623.]

After the funeral expenses and the allowance to the widow and children
have been paid, the claims against the estate will be discharged in the
order provided by law, after which, the balance of the property, devised
by will after all expenses of administration have been paid, will be
distributed to the different legatees.

[Sidenote: Descent and distribution. Personal property.]

The personal property of the deceased, not necessary for the payment of
debts, nor otherwise disposed of as hereinbefore provided, shall be
distributed to the same persons and in the same proportions as though it
were real estate. [Sec.3640.] A husband cannot, by will, deprive his wife
of her share in his personal estate, after his death, but he may dispose
of it during his lifetime in any manner he may choose.

[Sidenote: Payment.]

The distributive shares shall be paid over as fast as the executors can
properly do so. [Sec.3641.]

[Sidenote: In kind.]

The property itself shall be distributed in kind whenever that can be
done satisfactorily and equitably. In other cases the court may direct
the property to be sold, and the proceeds to be distributed. [Sec.3641.]

[Sidenote: Partial distribution.]

When the circumstances of the family require it, the court, in addition
to what is hereinbefore set apart for their use, may direct a partial
distribution of the money or effects on hand. [Sec.3643.]

[Sidenote: Share of husband or wife.]

[Sidenote: Dower and curtesy.]

One-third in value of all the legal or equitable estates in real
property, possessed by the husband at any time during the marriage,
which have not been sold on execution or other judicial sale, and to
which the wife has made no relinquishment of her right, shall be set
apart as her property in fee-simple, if she survive him. The same share
of the real estate of a deceased wife shall be set apart to the
surviving husband. All provisions made in this chapter in regard to the
widow of a deceased husband, shall be applicable to the surviving
husband of a deceased wife. The estates of dower and curtesy are hereby
abolished. [Sec.3644] While the estate of dower is abolished by statute,
and a wife takes her distributive share of the property in its stead,
yet this distributive share is still commonly designated by the term
"dower." The dower interest of the wife is not subject to the debts of
her husband. A wife may release her right of dower in real property by
joining in a joint deed with her husband, although the deed may contain
no express relinquishment of dower. Contracts between husband and wife,
though for a legal and valuable consideration, or with a view to
separation are invalid, the interest of either during the lifetime of
both, being merely contingent and inchoate, but an agreement previous to
marriage by which each waives all right in the other's estate, or by
which the wife relinquishes her right of dower, is valid. A woman can
claim no dower in her husband's estate, after his death, if she has
procured a divorce from him while living and the divorce is in force at
the time of his death. Where the provisions of a will gives the wife a
certain interest in the estate, she may always elect whether she will
take her dower interest or under the will.

[Sidenote: Homestead.]

The distributive share of the widow shall be so set off as to include
the ordinary dwelling-house given by law to the homestead, or so much
thereof as will be equal to the share allotted to her by the last
section, unless she prefers a different arrangement. But no different
arrangement shall be permitted where it would have the effect of
prejudicing the rights of creditors. [Sec.3645.] If the distributive share
of either husband or wife is set out to the survivor from the homestead,
it will still retain its homestead character, and will be exempt from
execution for the payment of debts.

[Sidenote: Widow of alien.]

The widow of a non-resident alien shall be entitled to the same rights
in the property of her husband, as a resident, except as against a
purchaser from the decedent. [Sec.3646.] The term "non-resident alien" does
not refer to one who resides out of the United States, but to
non-residents of the state, who may reside in other states; the purpose
of the statute being to encourage the purchase of lands within the state
from non-resident owners, and to protect purchasers of such real estate
from claims for dower or distributive share therein.

[Sidenote: How set off.]

The share thus allotted to her may be set off by the mutual consent of
all parties interested, when such consent can be obtained, or it may be
set off by referees appointed by the court. [Sec.3647.]

[Sidenote: Application]

The application for such measurement by referees, may be made any time
after twenty days and within ten years after the death of the husband,
and must specify the particular tracts of land in which she claims her
share, and ask the appointment of referees. [Sec.3648.]

[Sidenote: Widow's share not affected by will.]

The widow's share cannot be affected by any will of her husband, unless
she consents thereto within six months after notice to her of the
provisions of the will by the other parties interested in the estate,
which consent shall be entered on the proper records of the district
court. [Sec.3656.] This provision applies equally to the husband's rights
under the will of the wife, and it applies to wills made before
marriage, as well as to those executed after marriage. Where there is no
express provision in the will that a devise to the wife is in lieu of
dower, she will take her distributive share of the estate in addition to
the property devised to her by will, unless the allowance of dower would
be inconsistent with other provisions of the will. The devise of a life
estate to a wife will not defeat her right to her distributive share in
the real estate owned by the husband at the time of his death.

[Sidenote: Descent. To children.]

Subject to the rights and charges hereinbefore contemplated, the
remaining estate of which the decedent died, shall, in the absence of
other arrangements by will, descend in equal shares to his children.

[Sidenote: Share of deceased child.]

If any one of his children be dead, the heirs of such child shall
inherit his share in accordance with the rules herein prescribed in the
same manner as though such child had outlived his parents. [Sec.3658.] The
mother of a child which dies while both of its parents are living
cannot, upon the death of its father, claim any share in his estate, as
heir of such child.

[Sidenote: Wife and parents.]

If the intestate leave no issue, the one-half of his estate shall go to
his parents and the other half to his wife; if he leaves no wife, the
portion which would have gone to her, shall go to his parents, [Sec.3659.]
The one-third which the wife takes as her distributive share is all that
may be held exempt from debts. The additional share of the estate which
she takes in case there are no children, is subject to claims by
creditors of the husband.

[Sidenote: Surviving parents.]

If one of his parents be dead, the portion which would have gone to such
deceased parent, shall go to the surviving parent, including the portion
which would have gone to the intestate's wife had she been living.

[Sidenote: Heirs of parents.]

If both parents be dead, then the portion which would have fallen to
their share, by the above rules shall be disposed of in the same manner
as if they had outlived the intestate and died in the possession and
ownership of the portion thus falling to their share, and so on through
ascending ancestors and their issue. [Sec.3661.]

[Sidenote: Wife and her heirs.]

If heirs are not thus found, the portion uninherited shall go to the
wife of the intestate, or to her heirs if dead, according to like rules;
and if he has had more than one wife who either died or survived in
lawful wedlock, it shall be equally divided between the one who is
living and the heirs of those who are dead, or between the heirs of all,
if all are dead, such heirs taking by right of representation. [Sec.3662.]

[Sidenote: Advancement.]

Property given by an intestate by way of advancement to an heir, shall
be considered part of the estate so far as regards the division and
distribution thereof, and shall be taken by such heir, towards his share
of the estate at what it would now be worth if in the condition in which
it was given to him. But if such advancement exceeds the amount to
which he would be entitled, he cannot be required to refund any portion
thereof. [Sec.3663.] A gift to an heir by way of advancement, cannot be
considered as any part of the estate for the purpose of increasing the
distributive share of the widow, but is to be estimated as part of such
heir's share of the property, after the allowance to the wife of her

[Sidenote: Where there are no heirs.]

If there be property remaining uninherited, it shall escheat to the
state. [Sec.3665.]

[Sidenote: Illegitimate children. Inherit from mother.]

Illegitimate children inherit from the mother and the mother from the
children. [Sec.3670.] A child born at any time during lawful wedlock is
presumed by the law to be legitimate, but where questions of inheritance
are involved, this presumption may be overcome by proof to the contrary.

[Sidenote: Inherit from father.]

They shall inherit from the father whenever the paternity is proven
during the life of the father, or they have been recognized by him as
his children, but such recognition must have been general and notorious
or else in writing. [Sec.3671.] The recognition in writing need not be a
formal avowal. Any writing, as by letter or otherwise, is sufficient.
For the purposes of inheritance an illegitimate child stands on exactly
the same footing as if it were legitimate after it has been recognized
by the father, and the birth and recognition of such child revoke a will
in the same manner as the birth of a legitimate child, subsequent to the
execution of the will.

[Sidenote: Father inherits from child.]

Under such circumstances, if the recognition of relationship has been
mutual, the father may inherit from his illegitimate children. [Sec.3672.]



[Sidenote: Homestead exempt.]

Where there is no special declaration of the statute to the contrary,
the homestead of every family, whether owned by the husband or wife is
exempt from judicial sale, [Sec.3163.] A homestead right may exist in
property purchased under a bond for a deed, if payments have been made
and the purchaser is in possession. Actual occupancy is necessary to
invest property with the homestead character, but as the exemption right
is for the benefit of the whole family and not alone of the owner, the
fact that the head of the family is absent, and may even have acquired
property and residence in another state with the intention of removing
his family there, will not divest the homestead of its exemption right,
so long as the family continues to occupy it. And the fact that the
husband has abandoned the homestead will not affect the homestead right,
so long as the wife and family remain in occupancy.

The homestead right may belong to one of several tenants in common of
undivided property, or in a leasehold interest. It may attach to
portions of a building--as where rooms or floors in a building are used
for homestead purposes and the rest of the building is not so used.
Where part of a building is owned or occupied by a family as a home, and
the other part is used for a different purpose, that part used as a home
may be exempt, while the other portion may be sold under execution. The
exemption right may be lost by the execution of a mortgage or contract
expressly making the homestead liable, in which both husband and wife
join; or it may be forfeited when the homestead is used as a saloon or
for any other purpose in violation of the prohibitory liquor law, with
the knowledge and consent of the owner, and this is true even though
such unlawful use is without the consent of the wife of the owner. In
such case it is subject to judgment obtained because of such illegal
use. [Sec.2419.] If the homestead is sold, the proceeds are exempt only
when invested in the purchase of another homestead, but the exemption
does not follow the proceeds out of the state, and where the homestead
was sold and the proceeds invested in a homestead in another state, and
this was afterwards sold and the proceeds again invested in a homestead
in this state, it was held that the homestead exemption did not attach
to the second homestead in Iowa. Removal from the homestead without
intention of returning will be sufficient to forfeit the homestead
right, but the length of time of absence, in itself, will not constitute
abandonment, so long as the intention to return exists.

[Sidenote: Family defined.]

A widow or widower, though without children, shall be deemed a family
while continuing to occupy the house used as such at the time of the
death of the husband or wife. [Sec.3164.]

[Sidenote: Conveyance or incumbrance.]

A conveyance or incumbrance by the owner is of no validity unless the
husband and wife, if the owner is married, concur in, and sign the joint
instrument. [Sec.3165.] Any conveyance or contract, such as a mortgage,
lease, assignment of contract of purchase, or any act in any manner
affecting the title or right of occupancy of the homestead by either
party, will be absolutely void, unless concurred in by the other. If
the consent of the wife is fraudulently obtained by the husband, the
conveyance or incumbrance will be valid, unless it appears that the
purchaser or mortgagee had knowledge of the fraud. A mortgage given for
the purchase money will be valid though given alone by the party taking
the legal title.

[Sidenote: Liable for taxes.]

The homestead is liable for taxes accruing thereon, and if platted as
hereinafter directed, is liable only for such taxes and subject to
mechanics' liens for work, labor, or material, done or furnished
exclusively for the improvement of the same, and the whole or a
sufficient portion thereof may be sold to pay the same. [Sec.3166.] All the
taxes against the owner of the homestead become liens thereon, unless it
is platted as directed by statute.

[Sidenote: Liable for debts.]

The homestead may be sold on execution for debts contracted prior to the
purchase thereof, but it shall not in such case be sold except to supply
the deficiency remaining after exhausting the other property of the
debtor liable to execution. [Sec.3167.] Debts contracted after the
acquisition of the property, but before it has acquired the homestead
character by actual occupancy, may be enforced against the property. A
judgment upon a debt contracted prior to the purchase of the homestead,
although such judgment is not rendered until after the property has
acquired the homestead character, is a lien upon the homestead.

[Sidenote: Debts created by written contract.]

The homestead may be sold for debts created by written contract,
executed by the persons having the power to convey and expressly
stipulating that the homestead is liable therefor, but it shall not in
such case be sold except to supply the deficiency remaining after
exhausting the other property pledged for the payment of the debt in the
same written contract. [Sec.3168.] Any written contract other than a
mortgage or other conveyance, will be sufficient to render the homestead
liable for debts, provided it contains the necessary stipulations, and
is signed by the proper parties.

[Sidenote: What constitutes.]

The homestead must embrace the house used as a home by the owner
thereof, and if he has two or more houses thus used by him at different
times and places, he may select which he will retain as his homestead.
[Sec.3159.] The husband may select his homestead and make the same his home
without the consent of his wife, and the absence of the wife will not
affect its homestead character. The fact that the husband is the legal
head of the family invests him with the power of establishing his home
wherever he may choose, with or without the assent of his wife. Use is
essential to give property a homestead character, and an intention to
occupy is not sufficient in the absence of actual residence.

[Sidenote: Embraces what.]

It may contain one or more lots or tracts of land with the buildings
thereon and other appurtenances, subject to the limitations contained in
the next section, but must in no case embrace different lots or tracts,
unless they are contiguous, or unless they are habitually and in good
faith used as a part of the same homestead. [Sec.3170.]

[Sidenote: Extent.]

If within a town plat it must not exceed one-half an acre in extent, and
if not within a town plat, it must not embrace in the aggregate more
than forty acres. But if, when thus limited, in either case, its value
is less than five hundred dollars, it may be enlarged until it reaches
that amount. [Sec.3171.]

[Sidenote: Dwelling appurtenances.]

It must not embrace more than one dwelling house, or any other buildings
except as such are properly appurtenant to the homestead; but a shop or
other building situated thereon, and really used and occupied by the
owner in the prosecution of his own ordinary business, and not exceeding
three hundred dollars in value, may be deemed appurtenant to such
homestead. [Sec.3172.]

[Sidenote: Selecting. Platting.]

The owner or the husband or wife, may select the homestead and cause it
to be marked out, platted, and recorded as provided in the next section.
A failure in this respect does not leave the homestead liable, but the
officer having an execution against the property of such defendant, may
cause the homestead to be marked off, platted and recorded and may add
the expense thence arising to the amount embraced in the execution.

[Sidenote: Description. Recording.]

The homestead shall be marked off by fixed and visible monuments, and in
giving the description thereof, the direction and distance of the
starting point from some corner of the dwelling-house shall be stated.
The description and plat shall then be recorded by the recorder in a
book to be called the "homestead book," which shall be provided with a
proper index. [Sec.3174.]

[Sidenote: Changes.]

The owner may from time to time change the limits of the homestead by
changing the metes and bounds, as well as the record of the plat and
description, or may change it entirely, but such changes shall not
prejudice conveyances or liens made or created previously thereto, and
no change of the entire homestead made without the concurrence of the
husband or wife, shall affect his or her right or those of the children.

[Sidenote: New homestead exempt.]

The new homestead, to the extent in value of the old, is exempt from
execution in all cases where the old or former homestead would have been
exempt, but in no other, nor in any greater degree. [Sec.3176.]

[Sidenote: Survivor to occupy.]

Upon the death of either husband or wife, the survivor may continue to
possess and occupy the whole homestead until it is disposed of according
to law. [Sec.3182.] The survivor may elect to retain the homestead in lieu
of his or her distributive stare of the estate, but in such case the
interest is not one which confers any title to the property which can be
conveyed or which will descend to heirs or be subject to the lieu of a
judgment, but it is merely a life interest which may be terminated
whenever the survivor ceases to use and occupy the homestead as such.
Whenever the survivor elects to retain the homestead during life in lieu
of dower, it cannot be changed for another homestead, and the right will
be lost by abandonment.

[Sidenote: Election to retain. Descent. Exemption.]

The setting off of the distributive share of the husband or wife in the
real estate of the deceased, shall be such a disposal of the homestead
as is contemplated in the preceding section. But the survivor may elect
to retain the homestead for life in lieu of such share in the real
estate of the deceased; but if there be no such survivor, the homestead
descends to the issue of either husband or wife according to the rules
of descent, unless otherwise directed by will, and is to be held by such
issue exempt from any antecedent debts of their parents or their own.

[Sidenote: When sold.]

If there is no such survivor or issue the homestead is liable to be sold
for the payment of any debts to which it might at that time be
subjected, if it had never been held as a homestead. [Sec.3184.]

[Sidenote: Devise.]

Subject to the rights of the surviving husband or wife, as declared by
law, the homestead may be devised like other real estate of the
testator. [Sec.3185.] The homestead will remain exempt in the hands of the
heirs because of the homestead right of the ancestors, although the
property is not occupied as a homestead by such heirs.

[Sidenote: Exemptions. To head of family.]

If a debtor is a resident of this state, and is the head of a family, he
may hold exempt from execution the following property: All wearing
apparel of himself and family kept for actual use and suitable to their
condition, and the trunks or other receptacles necessary to contain the
same; one musket or rifle and shot-gun; all private libraries, family
bibles, portraits, pictures, musical instruments, and paintings, not
kept for the purpose of sale; a seat or pew occupied by the debtor or
his family in any house of public worship; an interest in a public or
private burying ground, not exceeding one acre for any defendant; two
cows and calf; one horse, unless a horse is exempt as hereinafter
provided; fifty sheep and the wool therefrom and the materials
manufactured from such wool; six stands of bees; five hogs, and all pigs
under six months; the necessary food for all animals exempt from
execution, for six months; all flax raised by the defendant on not
exceeding one acre of ground and the manufactures therefrom; one
bedstead and the necessary bedding for every two in the family; all
cloth manufactured by the defendant, not exceeding one hundred yards in
quantity; household and kitchen furniture, not exceeding two hundred
dollars in value; all spinning-wheels and looms, one sewing machine and
other instruments of domestic labor kept for actual use; the necessary
provisions and fuel for the use of the family for six months; the proper
tools, instruments or books of the debtor, if a farmer, mechanic,
surveyor, clergyman, lawyer, physician, teacher or professor; the horse
or the team consisting of not more than two horses or mules, or two
yoke of cattle, and the wagon or other vehicle with the proper harness
or tackle, by the use of which the debtor, if a physician, public
officer, farmer, teamster, or other laborer habitually earns his living;
and to the debtor, if a printer, there shall also be exempt a printing
press and a newspaper office connected therewith, not to exceed in all
the value of twelve hundred dollars. Any person entitled to any of the
exemptions mentioned in this section does not waive his rights thereto
by failing to designate or select such exempt property or by failing to
object to a levy thereon, unless failing or refusing so to do when
required to make such designation or selection by the officers about to
levy. [Sec.4297.] The husband and not the wife is recognized by law as the
"head of the family," but upon the death of the husband the wife becomes
the head of the family and as such is entitled to these exemptions.

[Sidenote: Life Insurance.]

All life insurance is exempt from the debts of the assured and from
those of his widow contracted prior to his death, provided such
exemption does not exceed the sum of five thousand dollars. [Sec.1756 Sup.]

[Sidenote: Family defined.]

The word "family," as used in section 4297, does not include strangers
or boarders lodging with the family. [Sec.4298.]

[Sidenote: Perpetual earnings.]

The earnings of such debtor for his personal services, or those of his
family, at any time within ninety days next preceding the levy, are also
exempt from execution and attachment. [Sec.4299.]

[Sidenote: Unmarried persons. Non-residents.]

There shall be exempt to an unmarried man not the head of a family, and
to non-residents their ordinary wearing apparel and trunk necessary to
contain the same. [Sec.4300.]

[Sidenote: Persons starting to leave the state.]

When the debtor, if the head of a family, has started to leave this
state, he shall have exempt only the ordinary wearing apparel of himself
and family, and such other property, in addition, as he may select, in
all not exceeding seventy-five dollars in value; which property shall be
selected by the debtor and appraised; but any person coming into this
state with the intention of remaining shall be considered a resident.

[Sidenote: Purchase money.]

None of the exemptions prescribed in this chapter shall be allowed
against an execution issued for the purchase money of property claimed
to be exempt, and on which such execution is levied. [Sec.4302.]

[Sidenote: Absconding debtor.]

Where a debtor absconds and leaves his family, such property shall be
exempt in the hands of the wife and children, or either of them.

[Sidenote: Sewing machine.]

If the debtor is a seamstress, one sewing-machine shall be exempt from
execution and attachment. [Sec.4304.]

[Sidenote: Pension money.]

All money received by any person, resident of the state, as a pension
from the United States government; whether the same shall be in the
actual possession of such pensioner, or deposited, loaned, or invested
by him, shall be exempt from execution or attachment, or seizure by or
under any legal process whatever, whether such pensioner shall be the
head of a family or not. [Sec.4305.]

[Sidenote: Homestead.]

The homestead of every such pensioner, whether the head of a family or
not, purchased and paid for with any such pension money, or the proceeds
or accumulations of such pension money, shall also be exempt as is now
provided by law of this state in relation to homesteads; and such
exemption shall also apply to debts of such pensioner contracted prior
to the purchase of such homestead. [Sec.4306.]

[Sidenote: Damages.]

Where a wrongful act produces death, and the deceased leaves a husband,
wife, child or parent, the damages shall not be liable for the payment
of debts. [Sec.3731.]



[Sidenote: Rape.]

If any person ravish or carnally know any female of the age of thirteen
years or more, by force and against her will, or carnally know and abuse
any female child under the age of thirteen years, he shall be punished
by imprisonment in the penitentiary for life or any term of years.

[Sidenote: Intent to commit rape.]

If any person assault a female with intent to commit a rape he shall be
punished by imprisonment in the penitentiary not exceeding twenty years.

[Sidenote: Compelling to marry.]

If any person take any woman unlawfully and against her will, and by
force, menace or duress, compel her to marry him, or to be defiled, he
shall be fined not exceeding one thousand dollars and imprisoned in the
penitentiary not exceeding ten years. [Sec.5161.]

[Sidenote: Carnal knowledge.]

If any person have carnal knowledge of any female by administering to
her any substance, or by any other means producing such stupor or such
imbecility of mind or weakness of body as to prevent effectual
resistance, or have such carnal knowledge of an idiot or female
naturally of such imbecility of mind or weakness of body, as to prevent
effectual resistance, he shall upon conviction, be punished as provided
in the section relating to ravishment. [Sec.5162.]

[Sidenote: Producing miscarriage of pregnant woman.]

If any person with intent to produce the miscarriage of any pregnant
woman, wilfully administer to her any drug or substance whatever, or,
with such intent, use any instrument or any means whatever, unless such
miscarriage shall be necessary to save her life, he shall be imprisoned
in the state prison for a term not exceeding five years, and be fined in
a sum not exceeding one thousand dollars. [Sec.5163.]

[Sidenote: Enticing female child for prostitution.]

If any person take or entice away any unmarried female, under eighteen
years of age, from her father, mother, guardian, or other person having
the legal charge of her person, for the purpose of prostitution, he
shall upon conviction be punished by imprisonment in the penitentiary
for not more than three years, or by fine of not more than one thousand
dollars and imprisonment in the county jail not more than one year.

[Sidenote: Enticing away child.]

If any person maliciously, forcibly or fraudulently lead, take, decoy,
or entice away any child under the age of fourteen years, with the
intent to detain or conceal such child from its parent, guardian, or any
other person having the lawful charge of such child, he shall be
punished by imprisonment in the penitentiary not more than ten years, or
by a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars or by both such fine and
imprisonment. [Sec.5165.]

[Sidenote: Seduction.]

If any person seduce and debauch any unmarried woman of previously
chaste character, he shall be punished by imprisonment in the
penitentiary not more than five years, or by fine not exceeding one
thousand dollars and imprisonment in the county jail not exceeding one
year. [Sec.5166.]

[Sidenote: Marriage a bar.]

If, before judgment upon an indictment, the defendant marry the woman
thus seduced, it is a bar to any further prosecution for the offense.
[Sec.5167.] An offer, by the defendant, to marry the woman, will not be a
bar to a prosecution for seduction, as nothing but actual marriage will
constitute such bar.

[Sidenote: Adultery.]

Every person who commits the crime of adultery shall be punished by
imprisonment in the penitentiary not more than three years, or by a fine
not exceeding three hundred dollars and imprisonment in the county jail
not exceeding one year; and when the crime is committed between parties,
only one of whom is married, both are guilty of adultery and shall be
punished accordingly. No prosecution for adultery can be commenced but
on complaint of the husband or wife. [Sec.5317.]

[Sidenote: Evidence in cases of rape or seduction.]

The defendant in a prosecution for a rape, or for an assault with intent
to commit a rape, or for enticing or taking away an unmarried female of
previously chaste character, for the purpose of prostitution, or aiding
or assisting therein, or for seducing or debauching any unmarried woman
of previously chaste character, cannot be convicted upon the testimony
of the person injured, unless she be corroborated by other evidence
tending to connect the defendant with the commission of the offense.
[Sec.5958, as amended by act of the Twenty-fifth General Assembly.] The
corroboration required by this section need not be by evidence of
witnesses to the act, but may be wholly by circumstances and facts which
tend to connect the accused with the commission of the crime.

[Sidenote: Bigamy.]

If any person who has a former husband or wife living, marry another
person, or continue to cohabit with such second husband or wife in this
state, he or she, except in cases mentioned in the following section, is
guilty of bigamy, and shall be punished by imprisonment in the
penitentiary not more than five years, or by fine not exceeding five
hundred dollars and imprisonment in the county jail not more than one
year. [Sec.5318.]

[Sidenote: Exceptions.]

The provisions of the preceding section do not extend to any person
whose husband or wife has continuously remained beyond seas, or who has
voluntarily withdrawn from the other and remained absent for the space
of three years together, the party marrying again, not knowing the other
to be living within that time; nor to any person who has been legally
divorced from the bonds of matrimony. [Sec.5319.]

[Sidenote: Knowingly marrying husband or wife.]

Every unmarried person who knowingly marries the husband or wife of
another, when such husband or wife is guilty of bigamy thereby, shall be
imprisoned in the penitentiary not exceeding three years, or by fine of
not more than three hundred dollars and imprisonment in the county jail
not exceeding one year. [Sec.5320.]

[Sidenote: Lewdness.]

If any man or woman not being married to each other lewdly and viciously
associate and cohabit together, or if any man or woman, married or
unmarried, is guilty of gross lewdness and designedly make an open and
indecent, or obscene exposure of his or her person, or the person of
another, every such person shall be punished by imprisonment in the
county jail not exceeding six months, or by fine not exceeding two
hundred dollars. [Sec.5321.]

[Sidenote: Keeping house of ill-fame.]

If any person keep a house of ill-fame, resorted to for the purpose of
prostitution or lewdness, such person shall be punished by imprisonment
in the penitentiary not less than six months nor more than five years.

[Sidenote: Houses of ill-fame.]

Houses of ill-fame kept for the purpose of prostitution and lewdness,
gambling houses, or houses where drunkenness, quarreling, fighting or
breaches of the peace are carried on or permitted, to the disturbance of
others, are nuisances, and may be abated and punished as provided in
this chapter. [Sec.5472.]

[Sidenote: Lease rendered void.]

When the lessee of a dwelling house is convicted of keeping the same as
a house of ill-fame, the lease or contract for letting such house is, at
the option of the lessor, void, and such lessor may thereupon have the
like remedy to secure possession as against a tenant holding over after
the expiration of his term. [Sec.5323.]

[Sidenote: Leasing house for such purpose.]

If any person let any house, knowing that the lessee intends to use it
as a place of resort for the purpose of prostitution or lewdness, or
knowingly permit such lessee to use the same for such purpose, he shall
be punished by fine not exceeding three hundred dollars, or imprisoned
in the county jail not exceeding six months. [Sec.5324.]

[Sidenote: Enticing to house of ill-fame.]

If any person entice back into a life of shame any person who has
heretofore been guilty of the crime of prostitution, or who shall
inveigle or entice any female, before reputed virtuous, to a house of
ill-fame, or knowingly conceal or assist or abet in concealing such
female, so deluded or enticed for the purpose of prostitution or
lewdness, he shall be punished by imprisonment in the penitentiary not
less than three nor more than ten years. [Sec.5325.]

[Sidenote: Penalty for prostitution.]

If any person, for the purpose of prostitution or lewdness resorts to,
uses, occupies or inhabits any house of ill-fame, or place kept for such
purpose, or if any person be found at any hotel, boarding house, cigar
store or other place, leading a life of prostitution and lewdness, such
person shall be punished by imprisonment in the penitentiary not more
than five years. [Sec.5326.]

[Sidenote: Incest.]

If any person marry his father's sister, mother's sister, father's
widow, wife's mother, daughter, son's widow, sister, son's daughter,
daughter's daughter, son's son's widow, daughter's son's widow,
brother's daughter, or sister's daughter, or, if any woman marry her
father's brother, mother's brother, mother's husband, husband's father,
son, husband's son, daughter's husband, brother, son's son, daughter's
son, son's daughter's husband, daughter's daughter's husband, brother's
son, or sister's son; or if any person, being within the degrees of
consanguinity or affinity in which marriages are prohibited by this
section, carnally know each other, they shall be deemed guilty of
incest, and shall be punished by imprisonment in the state penitentiary
for a term not exceeding ten years and not less than one year. [Sec.5351.]

[Sidenote: Illegitimate children. Complaint.]

When any woman residing in any county in the state is delivered of a
bastard child, or is pregnant with a child, which, if born alive, will
be a bastard, complaint may be made in writing by any person to the
district court of the county where she resides, stating that fact, and
charging the proper person with being the father thereof. [Sec.6113.]

[Sidenote: Judgment.]

If the accused be found guilty, he shall be charged with the maintenance
of the child in such sum or sums and in such manner as the court shall
direct, and with the costs of the suit. [Sec.6119.]

[Sidenote: Marriage of parents.]

Illegitimate children become legitimate by the subsequent marriage of
their parents. [Sec.3391.]



[Sidenote: Action for damages under prohibitory liquor law.]

Every wife, child, parent, guardian, employer or other person who shall
be injured in person or property or means of support, by any
intoxicated person, or in consequence of the intoxication habitual or
otherwise, of any person, shall have a right of action in his or her
name, against any person, who shall, by selling intoxicating liquors,
cause the intoxication of such person, for all damages actually
sustained, as well as exemplary damages; and a married woman shall have
the same right to bring suits, prosecute and control the same, and the
amount recovered, as if a single woman, and all damages recovered by a
minor under this action, shall be paid to such minor, or his parent,
guardian, or next friend, as the court shall direct, and all suits for
damages under this section shall be by civil action in any court having
jurisdiction thereof. [Sec.2418.] Under this section a woman is entitled to
recover for the death of her husband, or for personal injuries to him,
or to herself caused by intoxication. She may recover damages for mental
anguish, shame, or suffering, resulting from injuries to the person, and
for injuries to, or loss of property, and means of support.

[Sidenote: Parties in action for seduction.]

An unmarried female may prosecute as plaintiff, an action for her own
seduction and recover such damages as may be found in her favor.
[Sec.3760.] In a civil action for damages it is not necessary that an
unmarried woman be of previously chaste character to enable her to
recover for loss of health, physical suffering, etc., but without that
she cannot recover for loss of character.

[Sidenote: For injury or death of minor child.]

A father, or in case of his death, or imprisonment, or desertion of his
family, the mother may prosecute as plaintiff, an action for the
expenses and actual loss of service resulting from the injury or death
of a minor child. [Sec.3761.]

[Sidenote: Married women]

A married woman may, in all cases, sue and be sued without joining her
husband with her, to the same extent as if she were unmarried, and an
attachment or judgment in such action shall be enforced by or against
her as if she were a single woman. [Sec.3667.]

[Sidenote: Defense.]

If husband or wife are sued together, the wife may defend for her own
right; and if either neglect to defend, the other may defend for that
one also. [Sec.3768.]

[Sidenote: When husband or wife deserts family.]

When a husband has deserted his family, the wife may prosecute or defend
in his name any action which he might have prosecuted or defended, and
shall have the same powers and rights therein as he might have had; and
under like circumstances the same right shall apply to the husband upon
the desertion of the wife. [Sec.3769.]

[Sidenote: Evidence. Husband and wife.]

Neither the husband nor wife shall in any case, be a witness against the
other, except in a criminal prosecution for a crime committed one
against the other, or in a civil action or proceeding one against the
other; but they may in all civil and criminal cases, be witness for each
other. [Sec.4891.] In prosecutions for adultery or bigamy the husband or
wife, as the case may be, is a competent witness against the other.

[Sidenote: Communications between husband and wife.]

Neither husband nor wife can be examined in any case as to any
communication made by one to the other while married, nor shall they
after the marriage relation ceases, be permitted to reveal in testimony
any such communication made while the marriage subsisted. [Sec.4892.]

[Sidenote: Women eligible to office.]

Women are eligible to all school offices in the state, including those
of county superintendent and school director. [Sec.Sec.2828, 2829.]

No person shall be disqualified for holding the office of county
recorder on account of sex. [Sec.471.]

[Sidenote: Police matrons.]

Mayors of all cities having a population of twenty-five thousand or
more, are authorized, by act of the Twenty-fifth General Assembly to
appoint police matrons to take charge of all women and children confined
at police stations. They are to search the persons of such women and
children, accompany them to court, and "give them such comfort as may be
in their power." No woman is eligible to this office who is under thirty
years of age. She must be of good moral character, and sound physical
health. Her application must be endorsed by at least ten women of good
standing and residents of the city in which such appointment is made.
When appointed she shall hold office until removed by death, resignation
or discharge, but she can be dismissed only after charges have been made
against her conduct and such charges have been investigated. She has the
right to enter work houses where women are confined, at all times. She
shall be subject to the board of police or to the chief of police. Her
salary shall not be less than the minimum paid to patrolmen.

[Sidenote: Right of suffrage.]

In any election hereafter held in any city, incorporated town, or school
district, for the purpose of issuing any bonds for municipal or school
purposes, or for the purpose of borrowing money, or for the purpose of
increasing the tax levy, the right of any citizen to vote shall not be
denied or abridged on account of sex, and women may vote at such
elections, the same as men, under the same qualifications and
restrictions. [Act of the Twenty-fifth General Assembly.]



[Sidenote: Common law in Iowa.]

[Sidenote: Unmarried women. Property rights.]

[Sidenote: Married women.]

[Sidenote: Law will not protect them.]

The rules of the common law have never prevailed in all their harshness
in Iowa. At the time when the young state was born, public sentiment
already demanded a code more just, and, as before noted, the first law
for the protection or extension of the property rights of married women,
was passed in 1846. Modifications and changes have followed each other
through the entire history of our state legislation, until our present
law approaches a condition so nearly one of equal and exact justice
between the sexes, that it might serve as a model for other states less
progressive than our own. Except in the way of political disabilities
our law makes no discrimination against or in favor of women. They have
all the rights and privileges enjoyed by men, and are subject to the
same duties and responsibilities. Before the law they are equal, but, as
a matter of fact, where the law does not interfere, how is it in regard
to the property rights of the wife? The unmarried woman has control of
her property, if she has any, to the same extent that an unmarried man
has control of his. If she accumulates money or property by an
expenditure of her time and labor, it belongs to her alone. She can keep
it, give it away, will it, spend it, enjoy it, with the same
unquestioned right and freedom enjoyed by her brother. But a married
woman possesses no such independence, notwithstanding the laws in her
favor. The circumstances of her life may be such, that the law will be
powerless to protect her in the enjoyment of property which by right
belongs to her. The relations and respective duties of husband and wife
are such that the husband usually and necessarily controls the business
and the family income. The amount of that income over and above the
expenditures for family expenses, he invests as he chooses. If it is his
will to invest it in real estate, the law says she may have a share of
it after his death. If he deposits it in a bank or purchases stocks,
bonds, mortgages, or other personal property, the law again says part of
it shall be hers, if she survives him, and he has not disposed of it
while living, as he has a legal right to do. In either case, she cannot
control a single dollar during the life of her husband, if he chooses to
deprive her of that privilege. The property accumulated during the
marriage may be acquired by the wise judgment, strict economy and
self-denial of the wife in connection with the time and labor of the
husband. It may even be obtained wholly by her efforts, even though not
arising from the profits of any "separate business" recognized by the
law. Her contribution to the family income may, and generally does, come
into the possession of the husband and he invests it in property to
which he naturally and as a matter of course takes the title. During his
life he controls it. After his death one-third will belong to the wife,
if there are children. If there are no children one-half will go to his
heirs no matter how distant the relationship may be.

[Sidenote: Law may result in hardship and suffering.]

In cases where the joint accumulations of husband and wife are only
sufficient to support the wife in comfort after the death of her
husband, the law of descent as it now stands, may result in positive
hardship and suffering. No matter how small the amount of property
belonging to a deceased husband may be, one-half of it will descend to
his heirs, if he has no children, and the wife be left with no means of
support. Of course the result would be the same in the case of the
husband upon the death of the wife, if she held the title to all of the
common property. That this law of descent has not operated to the
disadvantage of the husband, but invariably to the disadvantage of the
wife, is not due to any defect in either the letter or spirit of the
existing law, but is the natural and inevitable result of the custom
which gives the husband the title to and the control of the joint
earnings of himself and wife.

[Sidenote: Change or modification needed.]

It is difficult to suggest a remedy or to conceive of any law which
would adjust and equalize the relations of husband and wife in the
ownership and control of common property during the lifetime of both,
but if some just and wise legislator can devise some change or
modification of the present law, which will not interfere with the
husband's proper and necessary position as breadwinner and manager of
the business of the family partnership, and which will give to the wife
control of a portion of the family income while the husband lives, and
when the total amount of property held by either, is only sufficient to
afford a comfortable support to the other, will after the death of the
owner of the property, secure it all to husband or wife, as the case may
be, he will add to the laws of the state the one requisite necessary to
secure to women equal property rights with men, and a more just
distribution of intestate property.


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