Married Women's Property Act


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Married Women's Property (CAP. 267 1

CHAPTER 267

THE MARRIED WOMEN'S PROPERTY ACT

Arrangement of Sections
Section

Short title.
Inter~retation.
Married woman to be capable of holding property,

and of contracting as a feme sole.
Property of woman married after the Act to be held

by her as a feme sole.
Loans by wife to husband.
Execution of general power by will.
Property acquired after the Act by a woman mar-

ried before the Act to be held by her as a feme
sole.

Stock, &c., standing in name of married woman.
Stock, &c., transferred into name of married

woman.
Stock, &c., in joint names of married woman and

others.
Husband need not join in transfer of stock, &c..
Investments by wife of money of husband without

his consent.
Married woman may insure her life.
Policy of insurance upon life of husband or wife

may create trust, and policy moneys not to be
subiect to debts.

4

Remedies of married woman for protection and
security of separate property.

Wife's ante-nuptial debts and liabilities.
Husband to be liable for his wife's debts contracted

before marriage to a certain extent.
Suits for married woman's ante-nuptial liabilities.
Criminal liabilitv of wife to husband.
Questions between husband and wife as to proper-

ty to be decided in a summary way.

LAWS OF ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA

2 CAP. 267) Married Women 's Property

Section

Married woman as executrix or trustee.
Saving of existing settlements and power to make

future settlements.
Legal personal representative of married woman.
Power of Court to bind interest of married woman.
Costs may be ordered to be paid out of property

subject to restraint on anticipation.
Will of married woman.
Disposition of trust estate by married woman.
Power of attorney of married woman.

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Married Women 's Property (CAP. 2 6 7 3

MARRIED WOMEN'S PROPERTY

411887.
( I s t "ly' 1887') S.R.O. 2211956.

1. This Act may be cited as the Married Women's short title.
Property Act.

2. In this Act- Interpretation.
< < contract" includes the acceptance of any trust, or of

the office of executrix or administratrix, and the
provisions of this Act as to liabilities of married
women shall extend to all liabilities by reason of
any breach of trust or devastavit committed by any
married woman being a trustee or executrix or
administratrix either before or after her marriage,
and her husband shall not be subject to such
liabilities unless he has acted or intermeddled in
the trust or administration.

"debentures or debenture stock of Antigua and
Barbuda" means any debenture or debenture stock
chargeable on the revenues of Antigua and Barbuda
under any Act.

c 6 property" includes a thing in action.

3. ( 1 ) A married woman shall, in accordance with Married
to be capable of

the provisions of this Act, be capable of acquiring, holding, holding property,
and disposing by will or otherwise of any real or personal and of

contracting as a property as her separate property, in the same manner as reme sole.
if she were a feme sole, without the intervention of any trustee.

(2) A married woman shall be capable of entering into,
and rendering herself liable in respect of and to the extent
of her separate property on, any contract, and of suing and
being sued either in contract or in tort, or otherwise, in all
respects as if she were a feme sole; and her husband need not
be joined with her as plaintiff or defendant, or be made a
party to any action or other legal proceeding brought by or
taken against her: and any damages or costs recovered by

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4 CAP. 267) Married Women 's Property

her in any such action or proceeding shall be her separate
property; and any damages or costs recovered against her
in any such action or proceeding shall be payable out of her
separate property and not otherwise.

(3) Every contract hereafter entered into by a married
woman otherwise than as agent-

( a ) shall be deemed to be a contract entered into
by her with respect to and to bind her separate property,
whether she is or is not in fact possessed of or entitled
to any separate property at the time when she enters
into such contract;

(b) shall bind all separate property which she may
at that time, or thereafter, be possessed of or entitled
to; and

( 6 ) shall also be enforceable by process of law
against all property which she may thereafter, while
discovert, be possessed of or entitled to:

Provided that nothing in this section contained shall
render available to satisfy any liability or obligation aris-
ing out of such contract any separate property which
at that time or thereafter she is restrained from
anticipating.

(4) Every married woman carrying on a trade separately
from her husband shall, in respect of her separate property,
be subject to the bankruptcy laws in the same way as if she
were a feme sole.

Property of
woman married

4. Every woman who marries after the commence-
after the ~~t to ment of this Act shall be entitled to have and to hold as her
be held by her as separate property, and to dispose of in manner aforesaid,
a feme sole.

all real and personal property which shall belong to her at
the time of marriage, or shall be acquired by or devolve upon
her after marriage, including any wages, earnings, money,
and property gained or acquired by her in any employment,
trade, or occupation in which she is engaged, or which she
carries on separately from her husband, or by the exercise
of any literary, artistic or scientific skill.

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Married Women's Property (CAP. 267 5

5 . Any money or other estate of the wife lent or Loans by wife to
intrusted by her to her husband for the purpose of any trade husband.

or business carried on by him, or otherwise, shall be treated
as assets of her husband's estate in case of his bankruptcy,
under reservation of the wife's claim to a dividend as a
creditor for the amount or value of such money or other
estate, after, but not before, all claims of the other creditors
of the husband for valuable consideration in money or
money's worth have been satisfied.

6. The execution of a general power by will by a mar- Execution of
general power by

ried woman shall have the effect of making the property ,ill.
appointed liable for her debts and other liabilities in the same
manner as her separate estate is made liable under this Act.

7. Every woman married before the commencement Property
acquired after

of this Act shall be entitled to have and to hold and to dispose the ~~t by a
of in manner aforesaid as her separate property all real and ;;;r~tp;~;",o
personal property, her title to which; whether vested or con- be held by her as
tingent and whether in possession, reversion, or remainder, a feme sole-
shall accrue after the commencement of this Act, including
any wages, earnings, money, and property so gained or
acquired by her as aforesaid.

8. All deposits in any savings bank, all annuities name
granted by any person, and all debentures or debenture stock
of Antigua and Barbuda, which, at the commencement of woman.
this Act, are standing in the sole name of a married woman,
and all shares, stock, debentures, debenture stock, or other
interests of or in any corporation, company, or public body,
municipal, commercial, or otherwise, or of or in any
industrial, provident, friendly, benefit, building, or loan
society, which, at the commencement of this Act, are stand-
ing in her name, shall be deemed, unless and until the con-
trary be shown, to be the separate property of such married
woman; and the fact that any such deposit, annuity, share,
stock, debenture, debenture stock, or other interest as
aforesaid, is standing in the sole name of a married woman
shall be sufficient prim2 facie evidence that she is beneficially
entitled thereto for her separate use, so as to authorize and
empower her to receive or transfer the same, and to receive
the dividends, interests, and profits thereof, without the con-
currence of her husband, and to indemnify all directors,

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6 C A P . 267) Married Women's Property

managers, and trustees of every such bank, corporation, com-
pany, public body, or society as aforesaid, or other officer
duly making payment of the same in respect thereof.

Stock, &c.,
transferred into

9. All such deposits, annuities, debentures and deben-
name of married ture stock of Antigua and Barbuda respectively as are men-
woman. tioned in the last preceding section, and all shares, stock,

debentures, debenture stock, and other interests of or in any
such corporation, company, public body, or society as
aforesaid, which, after the commencement of this Act, shall
be allotted to or placed, registered, or transferred in or into,
or made to stand in, the sole name of any married woman
shall be deemed, unless and until the contrary be shown,
to be her separate property, in respect of which, so far as
any liability may be incident thereto, her separate estate shall
alone be liable, whether the same shall be so expressed in
the document whereby her title to the same is created or
certified, or in the books or register wherein her title is entered
or recorded, or not:

Provided that nothing in this Act shall require or
authorize any corporation or joint stock company to admit
any married women to be the holder of any shares or stock
therein to which any liability may be incident, contrary to
the provisions of any Act, charter, by-law, articles of associa-
tion, or deeds of settlement regulating such corporation or
company.

Stock, &c., in
joint names of

10. All the provisions hereinbefore contained as to
married woman deposits in any savings bank, or in any other bank, annuities,
and shares, stock, debentures, debenture stock of Antigua and

Barbuda, or of or in any such corporation, company, public
body, or society, as aforesaid respectively, which at the com-
mencement of this Act, shall be standing in the sole name
of any married woman, or which, after that time, shall be
allotted to, or placed, registered, or transferred to or into,
or made to stand in, the sole name of a married woman,
shall respectively extend and apply, so far as relates to the
estate, right, title, or interest of the married woman, to any
of the particulars aforesaid which, at the commencement of
this Act or at any time afterwards, shall be standing in, or
shall be allotted to, placed, registered or transferred to or
into, or made to stand in, the name of any married woman,
jointly with any persons or person other than her husband.

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Married Women 's Property (CAP. 267 7

1 . It shall not be necessary for the husband of any Husband need
not join in

married woman, in respect of her interest, to join in the transfer of stock,
transfer of any such deposit or annuity as aforesaid, or of &c.
any share, stock, debenture, debenture stock or other benefit,
right, claim, or other interest of or in any such corporation,
company, public body or society as aforesaid, which is now,
or shall at any time hereafter be, standing in the sole name
of any married woman, or in the joint names of such mar-
ried woman and any other person or persons not being her
husband.

12. If any investment in any such deposit or annuity Investments by
as aforesaid, or in any share, stock, debenture, or deben- ~ ~ b , " d d m ~ ~ ~ , 9 '
ture stock, of Antigua and Barbuda, or any corporation, com- his consent.
pany, or public body, municipal, commercial, or otherwise,
or in any share, debenture, benefit, right, or claim what-
soever in, to, or upon the fund of any industrial, provident,
friendly, benefit, building, or loan society shall have been
made by a married woman by means of moneys of her hus-
band, without his consent, the Court may, upon applica-
tion under section 19, order such investment and the
dividends thereof, or any part thereof, to be transferred and
paid respectively to the husband; and nothing in this Act
contained shall give validity as against the creditors of the
husband to any gift, by a husband to his wife, of any pro-
perty, which, after such gift, shall continue to be in the order
and disposition, or reputed ownership, of the husband, or
to any deposit or other investment of moneys of the hus-
band made by or in the name of his wife in fraud of his
creditors; but any moneys so deposited or invested may be
followed as if this Act had not passed.

13. (1) A married woman may, by virtue of the r:;i;fu;:;;:
power of making contracts hereinbefore contained, effect a life.
policy upon her own life or the life of her husband for her
separate use; and the same and a l l benefits thereof shall inure
accordingly.

(2) A policy of assurance effected by any man upon his Policy of
insurance upon

own life, and expressed to be for the benefit of his wife, or life husband
of his children, or of his wife and children, or any of them, or wife may

create trust, and or by any woman on her own life, and expressed to be for policy moneys
the benefit of her husband, or of her children, or of her hus- not to be subject

to debts.

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CAP. 267) Married Women's Property

band and children, or any of them, shall create a trust in
favour of the objects therein named, and the moneys payable
under any such policy shall not, so long as any object of
the trust remains unperformed, form part of the estate of
the insured, or be subject to his or her debts:

Provided that if it shall be proved that the policy was
effected and the premiums paid with intent to defraud the
creditors of the insured, they shall be entitled to receive, out
of the moneys payable under the policy, a sum equal to the
premiums so paid. The insured may by the policy, or by
any memorandum under his or her hand, appoint a trustee
or trustees of the moneys payable under the policy, and from
time to time appoint a new trustee or new trustees thereof,
and may make provision for the appointment of a new trustee
or new trustees thereof, and for the investment of the moneys
payable under any such policy. In default of any such ap-
pointment of a trustee, such policy, immediately on its be-
ing effected, shall vest in the insured and his or her legal
personal representatives, in trust for the purposes aforesaid.
If, at the time of the death of the insured, or at any time
afterwards, there shall be no trustee, or it shall be expedient
to appoint a new trustee or new trustees, a trustee or trustees,
or a new trustee or new trustees, may be appointed by the
High Court. The receipt of a trustee or trustees duly
appointed, or in default of such appointment, or in default
of notice to the insurance office, the receipt of the legal per-
sonal representative of the insured shall be a discharge to
the office for the sum secured by the policy, or the value
thereof in whole or in part.

Remedies of 14. Every woman, whether married before or after
married woman
for protection the commencement of this Act, shall have in her own name
and security of against all persons whomsoever, including her husband, the
separate
property. same civil remedies, and also (subject as regards her hus-

band to the proviso hereinafter contained) the same remedies
and redress by way of criminal proceedings, for the protec-
tion and security of her own separate property, as if such
property belonged to her as a feme sole; but, except as
aforesaid, no husband or wife shall be entitled to sue the
olher for a tort; and in any indictment or other proceeding
under this section, it shall be sufficient to allege such pro-
perty to be her property:

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Married Women's Property (CAP. 267 9

Provided that no criminal proceeding shall be taken by
any wife against her husband by virtue of this Act, while
they are living together, as to or concerning any property
claimed by her, or, while they are living apart, as to or con-
cerning any act done by the husband while they were living
together, concerning property claimed by the wife, unless
such property shall have been wrongfully taken by the hus-
band when leaving or deserting, or about to leave or desert,
his wife.

15. A woman after her marriage shall continue to be ~ ~ ~ ; l a ; ~ ; ; ; s and
liable in respect and to the extent of her separate property liabilities.
for all debts contracted, and all contracts entered into or
wrongs committed by her before her marriage, including any
sums for which she may be liable as a contributory, either
before or after she has been placed on the list of contributories
under and by virtue of any Act relating to joint stock com-
panies; and she may be sued for any such debt, and for any
liability in damages or otherwise, under any such contract,
or in respect of any such wrong; and all sums recovered
against her in respect thereof, or for any costs relating thereto,
shall be payable out of her separate property; and as between
her and her husband, unless there be any contract between
them to the contrary, her separate property shall be deemed
to be primarily liable for all such debts, contracts, or wrongs,
and for all damages or costs recovered in respect thereof:

Provided that nothing in this Act shall operate to increase
or diminish the liability of any woman married before the
commencement of this Act for any such debt, contract, or
wrong as aforesaid, except as to any separate property to
which she may become entitled by virtue of this Act, and
to which she would not have been entitled for her separate
use if this Act had not passed.

16. A husband shall be liable for the debts of his wife FgP,";: ,",?
contracted, and for all contracts entered into and wrongs wife's debts
committed by her, before marriage, including any liabilities ~ , " ~ f ? a ~ ~ ~ , " ~
to which she may be so subject under any Act relating to certain extent.
joint stock companies as aforesaid, to the extent of all pro-
perty whatsoever belonging to his wife which he shall have
acquired, or become entitled to, from or through his wife,
after deducting therefrom any payments made by him, and

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10 CAP. 267) Married Women's Property

any sums for which judgment may have been bond fide
recovered against him in any proceeding at law, in respect
of any such debts, contracts, or wrongs for, or in respect
of which his wife is liable before her marriage as aforesaid;
but he shall not be liable for the same any further or
otherwise; and any Court in which a husband shall be sued
for any such debt shall have power to direct any inquiry
or proceedings, which it may think proper for the purpose
of ascertaining the nature, amount, or value of such property:

Provided that nothing in this Act contained shall operate
to increase or diminish the liability of any husband married
before the commencement of this Act, for or in respect of
any such debt or other liability of his wife as aforesaid.

Suits for married
woman's ante- 17. A husband and wife may be jointly sued in respect
nuptial of any such debt or other liability (whether by contract or , \
liabilities. for any wrong) contracted or incurred by the wife before

marriage as ai'bresaid, if the plaintiff in the action seeks to
establish his claim, either wholly or in part, against both
of them; and if in any such action, or in any action brought
in respect of any such debt or liability against the husband
alone, it is not found that the husband is liable in respect
of any property of the wife so acquired by him, or to which
he shall have become so entitled as aforesaid, he shall have
judgment for his costs of defence, whatever may be the result
of the action against the wife if jointly sued with him; and
in any such action against husband and wife jointly, if it
appears that the husband is liable for the debt or damages
recovered, or any part thereof, the judgment, to the extent
of the amount for which the husband is liable, shall be a
joint judgment, against the husband personally and against
the wife as to her separate property: and as to the residue,
if any, of such debt or damages, the judgment shall be a
separate judgment against the wife as to her separate estate
only.

Criminal liability 18. A wife doing any act with respect to any property
of wife to
husband. of her husband, which, if done by the husband with respect

to the property of the wife, would make the husband liable
to criminal proceedings by the wife under this Act, shall,
in like manner, be liable to criminal proceedings by her
husband.

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Married Women 's Property (CAP. 267 1 1

19. In any question between husband and wife as to Questions
between husband the title to or possession of property, either party, or any and wife as to

such bank, corporation, company, public body, or society property to be
decided in a as aforesaid, in whose books any stocks, funds, or shares

of either party are standing, may apply by summons or other-
wise in a summary way to any Judge; and such Judge may
make such order with respect to the property in dispute, and
as to the costs of and consequent on the applicatibn, as he
thinks fit, or may direct such application to stand over from
time to time, and any inquiry touching the matters in ques-
tion to be made in such manner as he shall think fit:

Provided that any order of a Judge made under this
section shall be subject to appeal in the same way as an order
made by a single Judge in a suit:

Provided, also, that the Judge, if either party so require,
may hear any such application in his private room:

Provided, also that any such bank, corporation, com-
pany, public body, or society as aforesaid, shall, in the mat-
ter of any such application, for the purposes of costs or other-
wise be treated as a stake holder only.

20. A married woman who is an executrix or Married woman
as executrix or

administratrix, alone or jointly with any other person or per- trustee.
sons, of the estate of any deceased person, or a trustee alone
or jointly as aforesaid of property subject to any trust, may
sue or be sued, and may transfer or join in transferring any
such deposit or annuity as aforesaid, or any debenture, or
debenture stock of Antigua and Barbuda, or any share, stock,
debenture, debenture stock, or other benefit, right, claim
or other interest of or in any such corporation, company,
public body, or society, in that character, without her hus-
band, as if she were a feme sole.

2 1. (1) Nothing in this Act contained shall interfere f;z~;f
with or affect any settlement or agreement for a settlement settlements and
made or to be made, whether before or after marriage, r,";; make
respecting the property of any married woman, or shall in- settlements.
terfere with, or render inoperative, any restriction against
anticipation at present attached, or to be hereafter attached,
to the enjoyment of any property or income by a woman
under any settlement, agreement for a settlement, will, or
other instrument; but no restriction against anticipation,
contained in any settlement or agreement for a settlement

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12 CAP. 26 7) Married Women 's Property

Legal personal
representative of
married woman.

Power of Court
to bind interest
of married
woman.

Costs may be
ordered to be
paid out of
property subject
to restraint on
anticipation.

of a woman's own property to be made or entered into by
herself, shall have any validity against debts contracted by
her before marriage, and no settlement or agreement for a
settlement shall have any greater force or validity against
creditors of such woman than a like settlement or agreement
for a settlement made or entered into by a man would have
against his creditors.

(2) Notwithstanding subsection (1) , a settlement or
agreement for a settlement made by the husband or intended
husband, whether before or after marriage, respecting the
property of any woman he may marry or may have mar-
ried, shall not be valid unless it is executed by her if she
is of full age, or confirmed by her after she attains full age.

(3) But if she dies an infant, any covenant or disposi-
tion by her husband contained in the settlement or agree-
ment shall bind or pass any interest in any property of hers
to which he may become entitled on her death, and which
he could have bound or disposed of if this Act had not been
passed.

22. For the purposes of this Act, the legal personal
representative of any married woman shall, in respect of her
separate estate, have the same rights and liabilities, and be
subject to the same jurisdiction, as she would if she were
living.

23. Notwithstanding that a married woman is
restrained from anticipation, the Court may if it thinks fit,
where it appears to the Court to be for her benefit, by judg-
ment or order, with her consent, bind her interest in any
property.

24. In any action or proceeding now or hereafter
instituted by a woman or by a next friend on her behalf,
the Court before which such action or proceeding is pend-
ing shall have jurisdiction, by judgment or order, from time
to time to order payment of the costs of the opposite party
out of property which is subject to a restraint on anticipa-
tion, and may enforce such payment by the appointment
of a receiver and the sale of the property or otherwise as
may be just.

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Married Women's Property (CAP. 267 13

25. Section 24 of the Wills Act, shall apply to the will will of married
woman

of a married woman made during coverture, whether she cap. 4j3 .
is or is not possessed of or entitled to any separate property
at the time of making it, and such will shall not require to
be re-executed or re-published after the death of her husband.

26. A married woman shall be able without her hus- Disposition of
trust estate by

band, to dispose of, or to join in disposing of, real or per-
sonal property held by her solely, or jointly with any other
person, as trustee or personal representative in like manner
as if she were a feme sole.

27. A married woman, whether an infant or not, shall Z;=;fof
by virtue of this Act have power, as if she were unmarried
and of full age, by deed, to appoint an attorney on her behalf
for the purpose of executing any deed or doing any other
act which she might herself execute or do.

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