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STATE COLLEGE LIBRARY

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UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
MAURICE J. TOBIN, Secren-y

WOMEN’S BUREAU
i

FRIEDA S. MILLER, Director

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P

The Legal Status of Women in the
United States of America
January 1, 1948
REPORT FOR

NEW HAMPSHIRE
Individual State material, constituting part of a
compilation to show the present legal status of
women in the United States of America

'
^4 res o*.

Bulletin

of the

Women’s Bureau, No.

157-28 (Revised)

UNITED STATES
GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE
WASHINGTON : 1949

For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, U. S. Government Printing Office, Washington 25, D. C.
Price 10 cents




THE LEGAL STATUS OF WOMEN IN THE UNITED STATES
OF AMERICA
In response to continuing domestic and international needs, tlie
Women’s Bureau has prepared a revised edition of its 1938 report on
the legal status of women in the United States of America.
The revised report is based on an examination of the Constitutions,
official statutes, and significant decisions of courts of last resort of the
Federal Government and the several States, as well as pertinent law
texts of recognized authority.
.
_
This pamphlet presents a digest of the material compiled for a single
State, which has been incorporated in the complete report.




LETTER OF TRANSMITTAL
United States Department of Labor,
Women’s Bureau,

Washington, June 2,19IJ).
Sir : I have the honor to transmit to you a revised report on the
legal status of women in New Hampshire. This is one of 54 separate
reports constituting a survey of the laws of the 48 States, the District
of Columbia, the territories of Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico, and
the United States possessions, the Canal Zone and Virgin Islands.
The original report for each jurisdiction represents a thorough
search of statutes and decisions of appellate courts construing its
statutes or establishing its judicial policy. Revision covers important
changes by legislative action.
The study was made by Sara L. Buchanan, Attorney, aided by
Mary L. Sullivan, Associate Economist, and Elizabeth Batson, Edi­
torial Assistant, all of the Bureau staff.
Respectfully submitted.
Frieda S. Miller, Director.
Hon. Maurice J. Tobin,
Secretary of Labor.
in

840458—49




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CONTENTS
A.—CIVIL RIGHTS
I.—CONTRACTS AND PROPERTY

1. Age of Majority.
2. Contractual Powers of Minors.
3. Property Exemptions from Seizure for Debt—Respective Rights
of Men and Women.
4. Property of Married Woman Owned at Marriage—Ownership
After Marriage.
5. Contractual Powers of Married Women.
6. Separate Earnings of Married Woman—Ownership and Control.
7. Liability of Married Woman for Family Necessaries.
8. Formal Procedure Required for a Married Woman to Engage in a
Separate Business.
9. Married Woman’s Separate Property—Control During Mar­
riage—Liability for Husband’s Debts.
10. Property Acquired After Marriage Through Cooperative Efforts
of Spouses—Ownership and Control.
11. Damages Recovered for Injury by Strangers to a Married Wom­
an’s Person, Property, or Character-—Ownership and Control.
12. Action to Recover Damages for Willful or Negligent Injuries to
the Person or Property of One Spouse by the Other—Respective
Rights of Husband and Wife.
13. Competency of Spouses to Testify For or Against Each Other.
14. Disposition of Separate Property by Will—Extent of Married
Woman’s Right.
15. Estate of Deceased Husband or Wife—Share of Surviving Spouse.
16. Provision for the Surviving Spouse During Administration of the
Estate.
17. Disinheritance of Husband or Wife by Will of Deceased SpouseSurvivor’s Alternative.
II.—MARRIAGE AND DIVORCE

18. Age of Consent to Marriage—Men and Women.
19. Validity of Common-Law Marriage.
20. Health Certificate Requisites Prior to Issuance of Marriage
License—Men and Women.
21. Interstate Cooperation in Marriage Law Enforcement.
22. Grounds for Marriage Annulment—Respective Availability to
Man or Woman.
23. Grounds for Divorce—Respective Availability to Spouses.




v

VI

CONTENTS
III.—PARENTS AND CHILDREN

24. Services and Earnings of Minor Children—Parents’ Respective
Rights.
...
25. Guardianship of Minor Children—Parents’ Respective Rights.
26. Appointment of Testamentary Guardian for Minor Children—
Parents’ Respective Rights.
27. Inheritance from an Intestate Child—Parents’ Respective Rights.
28. Support of Children Born Out of Wedlock—Parents’ Respective
Responsibility.
.
29. Inheritance from Child Born Out of Wedlock—Mother’s Right.
B.—POLITICAL RIGHTS
30. Domicile of Married Women.
31. Public Office—Eligibility of Women.
32. Jury Service—Eligibility of Women




THE LEGAL STATUS OF WOMEN IN THE
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
INTRODUCTION
Any conclusion bearing on woman’s status under the laws of the
United States of America must take into account the common law,
on which the fabric of the Nation’s jurisprudence is woven.
The common-law rules of property sprang from various causes,
notably tradition, military or economic exigency, natural male domi­
nance, and the social status of women. Shifts in these have effected
an almost complete overturn in laws governing the property owned
by a woman prior to her marriage and that coming into her individual
ownership after her marriage, by gift, inheritance, will, or accumu­
lation from her premarital possessions.
In general, it has been the rule that where specific statutes abro­
gating common-law principles have not been enacted, the common
law applies. In the century just past, many of the old common-law
injustices to women have been removed by statute. The largest remain­
ing area to be reformed to the present-day trend lies in the matter
of ownership and control of property acquired by the cooperative
efforts of husband and wife after marriage.
The material considered centers largely around the woman in the
marriage relation, since the legal status of the unmarried woman is
practically identical with that of the unmarried man, wTith the excep­
tion of the discrimination in some States which bars women from
jury duty; or of distinctions, such as variance between men and women
in the statutory age of majority or age of consent to marriage.




1

NEW HAMPSHIRE
SOURCES

Constitution of New Hampshire.
Revised Laws of New Hampshire, 1942.
Session Laws, 1947.
New Hampshire Reports.
Atlantic Reporter.
EXPLANATORY NOTE

References to the State Constitution are indicated by parenthetical
insertions of section numbers following the abbreviation Const., as
(Const., pt. 2, art. 30), placed after the related subject matter.
Statute references are by chapter, section, and page, enclosed in
parentheses immediately following the citation, as (ch. 412, sec. 21,
p. 1713).
,
,
Session laws are referred to by year of enactment and page number,
as (1947, p. 109).
.
. .
Case citations, definitely construing statutes or declaring judicial
policy in the absence of express statutory provision, are indicated by
numerical footnote references, and appear immediately after the re­
lated paragraphs. Cases showing historical development of a statute
or policy are followed by the abbreviation (Hist.).
Subject headings are preceded by numbers, which remain constant
for their respective topics through the entire State series. Cross
references among topics employ these numbers for brevity, as “See
Number 6,” which refers to the subject heading “Separate Earnings
of Married Woman—Ownership and Control.”




NEW HAMPSHIRE
A.—CIVIL RIGHTS
I.—CONTRACTS AND PROPERTY

1. Age of Majority.
As there is no general statutory definition of the age of majority, the
common-law provision of 21 years for both sexes applies. For the
purposes of the Minimum Wage Act for Women and Minors, the law
declares a minor to be a person of either sex under the age of 21 years
(ch. 213, sec. 1 (IV), p. 874).
2. Contractual Powers of Minors.
A married woman may join with her husband in release of her
dower, though she is not of full age; also a married man, though not
of full age, may join with his wife in release of his curtesy right (ch.
340, sec. 4, p. 1483).
Conveyances of land to or by a minor are not void, but voidable,
subject to ratification at his majority.12
Contracts made by minors are not void, but voidable, generally.3
A minor is liable for the reasonable price of actual necessaries supplied
him (ch. 200, sec. 2 (II), p. 812).
1 Robbins V. Eaton (1840), 10 N. H. 501, 563.
2 Emmons v. Murray (1844), 16 N. H. 385.
3 Wooldridge v. Lavoie (1918), 79 N. H. 21; 104 Atl. 346.

3. Property Exemptions from Seizure for Debt—Respective
Rights of Men and Women.
Personal Property.

The provisions for the exemption from attachment and execution
of various enumerated articles of personal property appear to be in­
tended for all debtor residents (ch. 388, sec. 2, p. 1644) (ch. 412, sec.
21, p. 1713).
Homestead.

.

Every person is entitled to $500 worth of his homestead, or of his
interest in it, as a homestead right. The owner, the husband or wife
of the owner, and the minor children, if any, are entitled to occupy
the homestead right during the owner’s lifetime. After the decease
of the owner, the surviving spouse and the minor children are entitled
to occupy the homestead right during the minority of the children.
Subject to these provisions, the surviving -wife or husband of the
owner is entitled to the homestead for life. But the exemption does
not hold against debts for taxes, record liens, or mortgages (ch. 260,
secs. 1,2,3, p. 1086). See Number 16.
3
840458-49-




•2

4

THE LEGAL STATUS OF WOMEN

4. Property of Married Woman Owned at Marriage—Ownership
After Marriage.
See Number 9.
5. Contractual Powers of Married Women.
A married woman has the same rights and remedies, and is subject
to the same liabilities in relation to property held by her in her own
right, as if she were unmarried. She may make contracts, sue and
be sued in all matters in law and equity, and upon any contract made
by her or for any wrong done by her, as if she were unmarried; except
that she is not liable as surety or guarantor for her husband nor for
any undertaking by her for him or in his behalf. But an agreement
a married woman makes with a third person to enable her to obtain
the means to aid her husband is not an undertaking by her for him or
in his behalf, and she is liable on it.12 She may execute a mortgage
releasing her right of dower and homestead (ch. 340, sec. 2, p.
1482) .3 4 5
A married woman appointed as guardian of a minor has the same
rights and powers and is subject to the same duties and liabilities as
other guardians. If a female guardian marries, her husband does not
thereby become guardian; but her guardianship may then be revoked
by the judge in his discretion (ch. 342, secs. 16,17, pp. 1490,1491).
If an executrix or administratrix marries, her husband does not
thereby become executor or administrator in her right; but she may
continue to exercise the trust as before (ch. 352, sec. 9, p. 1516).
1 White Mountain National Bank v. Noyes (1924), 81 N. H. 285; 125 Atl. 434.
2 Parsons v. McLane (1888), G4 N. H.478 ; 13 Atl. 588.
» Adams v. Adams (1921), 80 N. H. 80 (Hist.) ; 113 Atl. 279.
4 People’s Trust Co. v. Merrill (1918), 78 N. H. 540; 102 Atl. 827.
Seaver v. Adams (1890), 66 N. H. 142 (Hist.) ; 19 Atl. 776.

6. Separate Earnings of Married Woman—Ownership and
Control.
Every woman holds to her own use, free from the interference or
control of her husband, all property at any time earned by her, either
before or after marriage; provided, such property or earning does
not have its source in payment or pledge of the property of the hus­
band.1 See Number 5, as to her right to sue for her earnings.
1 Harris v. Webster (1878), 58 N. H. 481.

(Hist.)

7. Liability of Married Woman for Family Necessaries.
When a married woman contracts for necessaries in her own name
and on her own account, she is liable for the purchase price of them
(ch. 340, sec. 2, p. 1482) d
*
No female is to be arrested upon a writ in an action founded on con­
tract, nor upon any action founded upon a conditional sale of clothing
by lease or otherwise (ch. 389, sec. 1, p. 161)3).
1 Parsons v. McLane (1888), 64 N. H. 478 ; 13 Atl. 588.

8. Formal Procedure Required for a Married Woman to Engage
in a Separate Business.
There is no requirement for a recorded inventory of property or
other such formality to enable a married woman to engage in an inde­
pendent business. See Number 6.



NEW HAMPSHIRE

5

9. Married Woman’s Separate Property—Control During Mar­
riage—Liability for Husband’s Debts.
Every woman is entitled to hold to her own use, free from the inter­
ference or the control of her husband, all property earned, inherited, or
given to her, either before or after marriage, unless the acquisition of
this property is occasioned by the payment or pledge of the husband’s
property (ch. 340, sec. 1, p. 1482).
10. Property Acquired After Marriage Through Cooperative Ef­
forts of Spouses—Ownership and Control.
The wife has control over only her own separate estate (ch. 340, sec.
1, p. 1482). There is no community property law in this State.
11. Damages Recovered for Injury by Strangers to a Married
Woman’s Person, Property, or Character—Ownership and
Control.
A wife is entitled to hold to her separate use the fruits of any judg­
ment rendered in her favor for injury to her character.1
A married woman may bring suit against another woman for seduc­
ing her husband. It was the intention of the legislature wholly to re­
move the disability of coverture in respect of wrongs and place married
women on an entire equality with their husbands.2 See Number 5.
1 Hams v. Webster (1878), 58 N. H. 481.
a Seaver v. Adams (1889), 66 N. H. 142.

12. Action to Recover Damages for Willful or Negligent Injuries
to the Person or Property of One Spouse by the Other—Re­
spective Rights of Husband and Wife.
If a married woman is either injured or damaged by another’s illegal
act, the statute gives her a remedy even though that other is her hus­
band.1 See Number 5.
* Gilman V. Gilman (1915), 78 N. H. 4.

13. Competency of Spouses to Testify For or Against Each Other.
Husband and wife are competent witnesses for or against each other
in all cases civil and criminal, except that generally neither shall be
allowed to testify against the other as to privileged communications,
nor in any case where to do so, in the court’s opinion, would violate
marital confidence (ch. 392, sec. 29, p. 1664).
14. Disposition of Separate Property by Will—Extent of Married
Woman’s Right.
A married woman’s right to dispose of her property by will is
limited by her husband’s curtesy estate in her lands, if they have had
a child born to them alive; and by his right to waive the provisions of
her will and take his statutory share in her estate (ch. 350, sec. 1, p.
1510; ch. 359, sec. 9, p. 1541).
No devise of the homestead can affect the estate of the surviving wife,
husband, or minor children in the homestead right (ch. 260, sec. 5. p.
1087).




6

THE LEGAL STATUS OF WOMEN

15. Estate of Deceased Husband or Wife—Share of Surviving
Spouse.
(A) The husband of a deceased wife is entitled to his estate by cur­
tesy in all lands owned by her in her own right, as under common law
(ch. 359, sec. 9, p. 154d).
A widow is entitled to her dower in the improved or cultivated real
estate owned by her husband at his death. This dower must be suffi­
cient to produce an income equal to one-third the annual income of the
husband's lands at his death, or when the land was conveyed by him
(ch. 359, secs. 3-5, p. 1540).
On the death of a husband or wife, intestate, or with a will unsatis­
factory in its provisions for the surviving spouse and rejected by him
or her, such survivor is entitled to a distributive share of the net per­
sonal estate, in addition to dower or curtesy and homestead right [See
Number 3] in the following portions:
Personal Property.

• 1. One-third, if issue survive.
2. If testate, but no issue surviving, $5,000 of the value, and one-half
of remainder above $5,000.
3. If intestate, and no surviving issue, $7,500 of the value, and
one-half of the remainder above the $7,500.
Real Property.

By releasing dower or curtesy and homestead right, a surviving
spouse is entitled to the following portion of all the net real estate
owned by the decedent at date of death:
1. One-third, if issue survive.
2. If testate, but no surviving issue, $5,000 of the value, and onehalf of the remainder above $5,000. Where the inventory value of
all the real estate does not exceed $5,000, the surviving spouse is en­
titled to all of the remainder.
3. If intestate, and no surviving issue, $7,500 of the value and also
one-lialf of the remainder above $7,500. If the inventory value does
not exceed $7,500, the surviving spouse takes all of the remainder.
4. A surviving husband is entitled to one-third part of the net
real estate to hold during his life, if the deceased wife leaves children
not born of their marriage, and if he has no estate by the curtesy in
her real estate (ch. 359, secs. 10-13, p. 1542).
(B) The remainder of the real estate not devised by will of the
deceased owner, subject to the rights of husband and wife as de­
scribed in the foregoing paragraphs, and to any homestead right,
and liable to sale under court order, descends in equal shares (1)
to the decedent’s children and the legal representatives of such of
them as are dead; (2) if no issue, to the parents in equal shares, or
the whole to the survivor of them; (3) if neither issue nor parent
living, in equal shares to brothers and sisters or their representatives;
or (4) to the next of kin in equal shares (ch. 360, sec. 1, p. 1543).
The personal estate of a deceased person, not bequeathed, remain­
ing in the hands of the administrator on settlement of his administra­
tion account, is distributed by decree of the judge: (1) To the
surviving spouse, the portion prescribed by law, as set out in the fore­




NEW HAMPSHIRE

7

going paragraphs; (2) the residue in equal shares to the same persons
to whom the real estate, if there were any, would by law descend
(ch. 360, sec. 6, p. 1644).
If there be no heir, legatee, or devisee of an estate, such estate
passes to the widow or widower, if any (ch. 360, sec. 8, p. 1544).
16. Provision for the Surviving Spouse During Administration of
the Estate.
The wearing apparel and other personal articles described in the
statute, which belonged to the deceased spouse, are not to be included
in the inventory of the estate, but are to be given the surviving spouse,
if any; otherwise to the children, or heirs if no children, provided this
property is not disposed of by will (ch. 353, sec. 5, p. 1520).
Where no will was made, or if, when made, its provisions for the
widow are waived by her, the court may make for the widow a reason­
able allowance out of the personal estate for her present support.
In the final distribution of the personal estate, the court may order
the whole of this allowance, or such part of it as he considers reason­
able, to be deducted from the widow’s statutory share. It is to be
so accounted, also, when she elects to take one-third or one-half
of the real estate instead of her dower and homestead rights (ch. 359,
sec. 1, p. 1539). See Number 15.
This provision for an allowance is intended to provide for the
widow’s immediate wants until she can receive something from her
interest in the estate. How much that shall be must depend upon the
circumstances of each case, taking into account her age, health, situa­
tion of her family, number and ages of her children, and the situation
and size of the estate of her deceased husband.12
The widow may remain in her husband’s house for 40 days after his
death without being chargeable with rent, and in the meantime she is
to have reasonable sustenance out of the estate. These provisions are
to be taken into consideration by the judge in the allowance he may
make to her (ch. 359, sec. 2, p. 1540).
1 Woodbury v. Woodbury (1876), 58 N. H. 44.
2 Woodbury’s Appeal (1876), 57 N. H. 483.

17. Disinheritance of Husband or Wife by Will of Deceased
Spouse—Survivor’s Alternative.
See Number 15.
II.—MARRIAGE AND DIVORCE

18. Age of Consent to Marriage—Men and Women.
Men at 20 years and women at 18 may marry without parental
consent. If special causes exist rendering marriage desirable, men
between 14 and 20 years of age and women between 13 and 18 years of
age may marry, if in addition to the consent of the parents or guardian
they obtain permission from a justice of the superior court, or the
probate judge of the county where the party resides who is under age.
No male below the age of 14 and no female below the age of 13 years
is capable of making a valid marriage contract and all marriages con­
tracted by such persons are null and void (ch. 338, secs. 4 to 7, p. 1472).




8

THE LEGAL STATUS OF WOMEN

19. Validity of Common-Law Marriage.
Common-law marriages are not recognized in New Hampshire. The
policy of the State was announced by the court at an early date, and
apparently has not been changed. In 1848 the court said:
* *
temptation to illicit intercourse should be guarded against, for the
sake of good morals, and has been so * * * by our practice and
the usage of _ most civilized nations, by requiring some form of
solemnization.”1 In the same opinion, reference is made with ap­
proval to a former decision, holding that attestation of the marriage
contract before an official authorized to certify it to the record clerk
is essential to the ceremony.2
1 Dunbarton v. Franklin (1848), 19 N. II. 257, 265.
3Londonderry v. Chester (1820), 2 N. H. 268.

20. Health Certificate Requisites Prior to Issuance of Marriage
License—Men and Women.
Each applicant for license to marry must submit with the applica­
tion a statement or statements from a licensed physician that a stand­
ard blood test has been made, and that in the opinion of the physician,,
the person is not infected with syphilis, or in a stage that may become’
communicable. This statement must be accompanied by the bloodtest record containing the exact name of the applicant. The test must
be one approved by the State department of health, performed by it or
a laboratory it has approved, on request of a licensed physician, not
more than 30 days before the issuance of the marriage license. Pen­
alties are provided for failure of any person to comply with the law.
The certificate filed is not part of the marriage record but a confidential
report (ch. 338, secs. 23-25, p. 1474).
A 5-day waiting period is required between the filing of notice of
intention to marry and issuance of license to marry (ch. 338, sec. 26,
p. 1474) ; but for good cause shown, the court having jurisdiction may
shorten this period or may waive the blood test (ch. 338, sec. 27,
p. 1475).
Every physician is required to record all cases of syphilis an,d
gonorrhea that come under his observation and care, to use reasonable
means to find the intentions of such persons as to marriage, to warn
them of the legal, moral, and physical evils of marriage contracted by
them and to notify the State board of health if a patient intends to
marry.
No person so reported may lawfully marry until the physician in
charge of the case supplies the State board of health with a satisfac­
tory record that such person is free from the disease and will not infect
others. The town clerk is required to refuse a certificate of marriage
intention to such person without the consent of the State board of
health. Any person failing to comply with these provisions is subject
to fine or imprisonment or both. Epileptic, imbecile, feeble-minded,
or insane persons are prohibited from marrying unless sterilized, or
unless the woman is over 45 years of age (ch. 338, secs. 10, 17-21,
pp. 1472-1474).
21. Interstate Cooperation in Marriage Law Enforcement.
The uniform marriage and divorce act has not been adopted. It is
provided by statute that parties who are residents of the State, but go




NEW HAMPSHIRE

9

into another State to be married, must, on their return to New Hamp­
shire to reside, file a certificate or declaration of their marria.ge, set­
ting out all the information required if they had married in New
Hampshire, with the clerk of the town where either of them lived prior
to their marriage, within 7 days after their return, under penalty of
$10 (ch. 338, sec. 30, p. 1475).
22. Grounds for Marriage Annulment—Respective Availability to
Man or Woman.
Marriages contracted within the degrees of relationship prohibited
by statute are incestuous and void (ch. 338, secs. 1-3, p. 1471); those
contracted by males below the age of 14, or females below the age of 13
years, are null and void (ch. 338, sec. 4, p. 1471) ; and those contracted
where either party knows at the time that he or she has a living spouse
of a former marriage are void without legal process (ch. 339, sec. 1,
p. 1477).1
1 Bickford v. Bickford (1908), 74 N. H. 448 ; 69 Atl. 579.

23. Grounds for Divorce—Respective Availability to Spouses.
The injured party may obtain a divorce for any one of the following
causes: Impotency; adultery; extreme cruelty; conviction in any State
or Federal district of a crime punishable with imprisonment for more
than 1 year, together with actual imprisonment under such conviction;
treatment seriously injuring health or endangering reason; habitual
drunkenness for 3 years; desertion for 3 years without being heard of;
when one party has joined a religious sect which prohibits cohabita­
tion, and has refused to cohabit for 6 months together; refusal to
cohabit for 3 years without sufficient cause and without the consent
of the other party.
The husband may obtain a divorce when the wife has willingly ab­
sented herself from him, without his consent, for 3 years together, or
when the wife has gone to reside outside of the State and has remained
absent from him for 10 years without his consent and without return­
ing to claim her marriage rights.
The wife may obtain a divorce when the husband has willingly ab­
sented himself for 3 years together, without making suitable provision
for her support and maintenance. The wife of an alien or citizen of
another State may obtain a divorce when she has resided in this State
for 3 years, separate from her husband, who has left the United States
with the intention of becoming a citizen of some foreign country, and
has not during that period come into the State and claimed his marital
rights and has not made suitable provision for his wife’s support
(ch. 339, sec. 6, p. 1478).
III.—PARENTS AND CHILDREN

24. Services and Earnings of Minor Children—Parents’ Respec­
tive Rights.
The powers, rights, and duties of the father and mother in regard
to their unmarried minor children are equal (ch. 342, sec. 4, p. 1490).
In construing this statute, the court said: “The right to service, being
correlative to the duty to support, accrues to the parent who actually




10

THE LEGAL STATUS OF WOMEN

performs the duty. Whether the father or the mother or both have
entitled themselves to compensating services of the minor is a ques­
tion of fact.”1
1 Lessard v. Great Falls Woolen Company (1929), 83 N. H. 576, 581.

25. Guardianship of Minor Children—Parents’ Respective Rights.
The father and mother of an unmarried minor child are joint
guardians with equal powers, rights, and duties in regard to the child
(ch. 342, sec. 4, p. 1490).
The judge may appoint the father or mother, or any person nomi­
nated by either, to be the guardian of a child, as he shall think most
conducive to the interest of the child (ch. 342, sec. 15, p. 1491).
26. Appointment of Testamentary Guardian for Minor Children—
Parents’ Respective Rights.
Upon the death of either parent, the survivor becomes the sole
guardian of the person of the child (ch. 342, sec. 4, p. 1490) ,1
1 White v. White (1913), 77 N. H. 26, 29 ; 86 Atl. 353.

27. Inheritance from an Intestate Child—Parents’ Respective
Rights.
See Number 15.
28. Support of Children Born Out of Wedlock—Parents’ Respec­
tive Responsibility.
When either the mother or the town has made complaint as provided
by law, and the man is found chargeable, after hearing in court, the
court will order him to pay such sum as it deems reasonable to the
mother of the child or to the town authorities responsible for the main­
tenance of it, to be applied to such maintenance, and also the costs of
the court proceeding. The court may then order the father, or the
mother, or both to give security to save the town harmless from all
charge for the maintenance of the child. Failure to comply with the
court’s order subjects the offender to prison commitment until the order
is obeyed (ch. 128, secs. 1-12, pp. 505 to 507).
29. Inheritance from Child Born Out of Wedlock—Mother’s
Right.
The mother and her heirs inherit from such child, as provided in the
statutes governing descent and distribution (ch. 360, sec. 4, p. 1544).
See Number 15.
B.—POLITICAL RIGHTS
30. Domicile of Married Women.
The Supreme Court of New Hampshire has said—
*** * * since the law puts her [the married woman] upon an equal­
ity, so that he [the husband] now has no more power and authority
over her than she has over him, no reason would seem to remain why
she may not acquire a separate domicile for every purpose known to
the law. If, however, there are exceptional cases, when for certain




NEW HAMPSHIRE

11

purposes, it might properly be held otherwise, there can be in this
jurisdiction no reason for holding that when the husband has for­
feited his marital rights by his behavior, the wife may not acquire a
separate domicile, and exercise the appertaining rights and duties of
citizenship with which married women have become invested. * * *
the good sense of the thing is that a wife cannot be divested of the
right of suffrage, or be deprived of any civil or legal right, by the act
of her husband; and so we take the law to be. Whenever it is neces­
sary or proper for her to acquire a separate domicile, she may do'
so. * * * This is the rule for the purposes of divorce, and it is
the true rule for all purposes.”1
1 Shute v. Sargent (1893), 67 N. H. 305 ; 36 At], 282.

31. Public Office—Eligibility of Women.
Every inhabitant of the State, having the proper qualifications, has
equal right to elect, and be elected, into office (Const., pt. 1, art. 11).
Every person qualified as the Constitution provides is considered an
inhabitant for the purpose of electing and being elected into any
office (Const., pt. 2, art. 30).
In an opinion rendered by the Justices of the Supreme Court of the
State, upon request of the Governor in connection with the applica­
tion of a woman citizen to be appointed a justice of the peace, it is
said—
“As to elective offices, women are now eligible in this State upon the
same terms as men, because they now answer our constitutional test.
They are qualified voters, and as such have the constitutional guaranty
of the right to be elected to office. The elective offices referred to in
article 30 are those which are filled by the direct exercise of the
franchise of the voters. The article has no application to officers
elected in other ways * * * as to all appointive offices the Con­
stitution is silent as to sex qualification; and it is within the legislative
power to abolish in whole or in part, the common-law disability of
women in respect to such offices.”1
The legislature took action on this phase of the matter in its regular
session of 1929, by passing “An Act Relating to the Appointment of
Women to Public Office,” which provides that: “Except as otherwise
specified by statute, women may hold and be appointed to public of­
fice upon the same terms and conditions as men” (ch. 43, sec. 3, p. 175).
1 Opinion of the Justices (1927), 83 N. H. 589 ; 139 Atl. 180, 183.

32. Jury Service—Eligibility of Women.
Women are eligible for jury duty, but they are not compelled to*
serve. A woman’s name will not be placed on the jury list unless she
has first appeared before the selectmen and registered for jury serv­
ice (1947, p. 109).
Special Topics.
Taxation.—The husband is liable for his wife’s poll tax as well as
his own. if they are living together as husband and wife (ch. 73, sec.
6, p. 295).




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