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15 7 /f^NITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
MAURICE J. TOBIN, Secretary

WOMEN’S BUREAU
FRIEDA S. MILLER, Director

+

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

VERMONT
•

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

Bulletin

Un.

3

no. 157:44

of the

Women’s Bureau, No.

(Revised]

UNITED STATES
GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE
WASHINGTON : 1949

For Bale by the Superintendent of Docutnenta, U. S. Government Printing Office, Wa.hington 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, the
n omen’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.
n




#

LETTER OF TRANSMITTAL
United States Department

of

Labor,

Women’s Bureau,

t
Washington, June 2,19JJ).
Sir : I have the honor to transmit to you a revised report on the legal
status of women in Vermont. This is one of 54 separate reports consti­
tuting 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, Editorial
Assistant, all of the Bureau staff.
Respectfully submitted.
•
Frieda S. Miller, Director.
Hon. Maurice J. Tobin,
Secretary of Labor.




hi




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 V oman to Engage m
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 Enorts
of Spouses—Ownership and Control.
.
,
11. Damages Recovered for Injury by Strangers to a Married Woman 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 V ill—Extent of Married
Woman’s Right.
. . c,
15. Estate of Deceased Husband or Wife—Share of Surviving Spouse.
16. Provision for the Surviving Spouse During Administration of the
17. Disinheritance of Husband or Wife by Will of Deceased Spouse
Survivor’s Alternative.
II.—MARRIAGE AND DIVORCE

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




VI

CONTENTS

III.—PARENTS AND CHILDREN

24’ SElghtsand EarningS °f Minor Children—Parents’ Respective
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. Su^P^n^bChildren Born Out of Wedlock—Parents’ Respective
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 dom­
inance, and the social status of women. Shifts in these have enected
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 accumula­
tion from her premarital possessions.
In general, it has been the rule that where specific statutes abrogat­
ing common-law principles have not been enacted, the common law
applies. In the century just past, many of the old common-law in­
justices 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 m the
marriage relation, since the legal status of the unmarried woman is
practically identical with that of the unmarried man, with 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




VERMONT
SOURCES

Constitution of Vermont.
1947 Revision of Vermont Statutes.
Vermont Reports.
Atlantic Reporter.
EXPLANATORY NOTE

. -References to the State Constitution are indicated by parenthetical
insertions of chapter and section numbers following the abbreviation
Const., as (Const., ch. 1, art. 4), placed after the related subject matter.
Code section references are likewise in parentheses, thus (sec. 3074).
Case citations, definitely construing statutes or declaring judicial
policy m the absence of express statutory provision, are indicated by
numerical footnote references, and appear immediately after the
related 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’’ winch refers to the subject heading “Separate Earnings
of Married Woman—Ownership and Control.”




VERMONT
A.—CIVIL RIGHTS
X.—CONTRACTS AND PROPERTY

1. Age of Majority.
Persons are considered of age at 21 years, and are minors until they
attain that age (sec. 21). See also Constitution, chapter 1, article 1.
For age of consent to marriage see Number 18.
2. Contractual Powers of Minors.
A minor is bound to pay a reasonable price for necessariessold
and delivered to him, such necessaries being goods suitable to the
infantl condition in life and his actual requirements at the time of
^Every personal contract to which an infant is a party, if n°t entered
into for necessaries which he has actually received, may be avoided by
him, whether fully executed or not, unless he has confirmed such
contract by his acts or words after arriving at the age of 21 years.
A deed executed and delivered by an infant, conveymg land, remains
good and valid until it is avoided by him. As he alone has the power
of avoiding the deed and rescinding the contract, he is bound, m leason
and justice, after he comes of age and is competent to exercise a dis­
cretion upon the subject, to make his election and give notice of his
intention Unless he makes known his determination m a reasonable
time, it is just that the contract should become absolute against him.
See application of this principle in Spencer v. Lyman Falls Power Go.
^The miuSgeaf^female minor under guardianship discharges her
guardian from all right to her custody and education, but not from
hiT£or° XWaSofS'k in cooperative savings and loan
associations in his own name and under his own control (sec. 895 ).
A minor may draw bank deposits credited and due to him, in the
discretion of the trustees of the bank (sec. 8781). Bank deposits to
the credit of a minor, earned by or belonging to him, aie exempt fioi
tT ThTearnings of a minor are exempt from trustee process in an action
against a parent of such minor (sec. 1808. VI).
See Number 14 as to wills.
1 Abell V. Warren (1832), 4 Vt. 149, 154.
2 Bigelow v. Kinney (1830), 3 Vt. 353, 359 ; 21 Am. Dec. 58 .
840456—49------2




3

4

THE LEGAL STATUS OF WOMEN

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

A debtor may hold exempt from execution for debt any or all of the
various articles of personal property enumerated in the statute, and
accoiding to the limits of value there specified. The exemption in­
cludes among other items: “Such suitable apparel, bedding, tools
arms and articles of household furniture, as may be necessary for
sustaining life; one sewing machine kept for use;” foodstuffs, fuel,
livestock and provisions for it through one winter, mechanical or
professional equipment as designated, for use in earning a living.
Personal property is not exempt from debts for purchase-price, or for
material or labor expended on it (sec. 2303).
1
ciatiouTpldh?118 UP°n Shai’eS “ a co°Perative savings and loan asso8955)
y any person are esemPt to the amount of $1,000 (sec.
Wages or compensation due to a person for his work or labor per­
formed before service of the trustee process on the employer are
exempt to the amount of $10 (sec. 1808. Y).
P y
Insurance.

. ^ SU!f payab\eto a policyholder for loss by fire of property exempt
om attachment and execution is likewise exempt in the hands of the
insurance company against the policy holder’s debts. Nor is a life.
exceeding
SUbjeCt t?,trUSt?e Process 011 f™ds in its hands not
1808 t II)$ °° d °r payable under a P°licy of life insurance (sec,
llry °f ins.urance on the life of a person expressed to be for the
benefit of a married woman, whether effected by herself, her husband
alhluSrTli11 her xThalf’ mF“ to her seParate use and benefit
and that of her children. Neither the husband, nor the person whose
life is insured, nor any creditor or representative of either of these has
3177)lght’tlfc 6’ °r interest in such P°hcy or the benefits from it (sec.
Homestead.

The homestead of “a natural person” consisting of a dwelling house
morelhanfl 000 ® ^ T1 in/0,lfction
them, valued at not
more than $1,000, owned and used or kept by such person as a home­
stead, together with the rents, issues, profits, and products from if is
exempt, m general, from attachment and execution (sec. 2610).
’
I he homestead is subject to levy of execution on causes of action
existing at the time the homestead is acquired (sec. 2616) • for taxes
assessed against it sec. 2617) ; for material and labor expended on the
W°PTSeCS‘ 2J54-2755,2760-2761) ; and for maintenance of division
fences between the property and adjoining lands (sec. 3903).
II the owner of a homestead is a married person, both husband and
wife must join m any conveyance of the property, except a mortgage
fseif sGlD | le purchase~money at the time the homestead is acquired
provision is made for conveyance of the homestead when
e spouse owning the property is under guardianship (sec. 2625), or




5

VERMONT

when the owner’s husband or wife is insane

of the surviving spouse may be lost

for the

bJ *■ T?^SlS?Sl'SS;» - « «*. - «• - <“»■

.

4. Property of Married Woman Owned at Marriage-Ownership
After Marriage.
See Number 9.
5 Contractual Powers of Married Women.

»«ao8s£S55»jggsSS
SS-S^gieSES
sole and separate goods, chattels, and 68^^^ ^ wMch her husband

on her surety contract for her husband.
Insurance.

his lifetime (sec. 3178).
Fiduciary Capacities.

.

rr^rsn? ? Se"d“’E s
MtSS toS ta any m,ch capacity under a previous apporntment

SSSp^-KSiSS®
administrator of the estate o
tbat - fc be granted to some other
&SLn%ito^£y° afer the husband’s death, administration may




6

THE LEGAL STATUS OF WOMEN

b«XTJtr„mco°»ri„"S SoS? if q,,alifi,!d (a*' 2848>1 McNamara v. Pickett (1938), 109 Vt. 500 ; 1 At] (2d) 716.

6. Separate Earnings of Married Woman-Ownership and Control.
See Number 9.
7. Liability of Married Woman for Family Necessaries.
ahdl«11sltlShwiUSbai|?,S dUtj l° SUpply necessaries for his family
/hot ,Ll b for such necessaries when supplied upon the credit
the necessaries upon fteSft'of"som Ser peJo^who maybUThe
of

caucus liable to criminal prosecution, with penalty on comdctioo of
nnprisonment or fine or both (sec aian'i
a
-p • , .
ction of
her husband is liable lor the payment of a ™in!v 'll," suPP°rtjng
ance tax. or a flood tax
pSStf’SjS r‘e is Ikbl1 fT
taxes assSd afeC
&m«fcg(S8W3l9T
*° q“W-T °itiz6"8 Noting S
necSe“aSesmber " “ *°

of * "'ife’s

property for

1 Garter v. Howard (1866), 39 vt. 106.

8- Pin™lLparateRushness.ired

3

W“"*" * ■««.

No formal proceeding, such as a decree of court, to establish a mar
Number^fas to contract//! ^ ^ b "*** ^ ^ X
9. Married Woman’s Separate Property—Control Durimr Mar
nage—Liability for Husband’s Debts.
n”g Mar"
J* pel>SOi?al Pr°Pe:rty and rights of action acquired by a woman
bep“aterprOTertTrrSf ““P5 **m. from h“ husbaitd, are h“

personal services (secs. 3166, 3168).
g ^
e otner tor
of 1894 a^s section
f,°™ ,6.rst.‘aPP.ears in Vermont Statutes
r
Son ofas section 264(. The latest legislative act on the subiect of •)
1894awasSuTT lf'S°nfi Property, before the official L
industrv m ” lelrt™ n J' h ^T the V the ™rds “by her personal
inaustry or, leaving as the sole exception, gifts which the wife re­
ceives from her husband, thereby apparently including her personal
personal industry of the wife outside hefhome STIsVSlssi be!




VERMONT

7

longed to her husband, in the absence of an agreement between the
spouses that it should be hers. This ruling has been approved m prin­
ciple in later cases, as in Roberts v. Hughes (1912), 86 Yt. tb, 102? 83
Atl. 807: Dunn v. Williams (1935), 107 Yt. 447, 181 Atl. 131. How­
ever, note exemption of wife’s earnings from husband s debts, covered
later in this topic.]
^ ...
„
Notwithstanding the exception in the statute as to gifts of per
sonalty by the husband to the wife, a husband may confer upon his
wife full title to personal property by sale, gift, or waiver of his
marital rights, unless the transaction is subject to action by creditors
on the ground of fraud.1
Ownership and Control of Real Estate.

A married woman may convey or mortgage by her separate deed
the real estate of which she is seized in her own right 'do her sole and
separate use,-’ as if she were unmarried. She may, by her sole deed,
convey or mortgage and may manage and control any other real estate
acquired by her on or after February 13,1919, except that a homestead
interest in such property and the real estate of which she is seized
jointly with her husband may be conveyed or mortgaged only by the
joint deed of herself and husband (sec. 3164). When a married
woman deeds or conveys real property acquired under some other than
her present name, her conveyance of it must show both the former and
present name (sec. 3165).
,
[The nature of the wife’s ownership and the extent of her control
over her real property depend on the date of its acquisition. If she ac­
quired the property before February 13, 1919, when her rights of
ownership and control were enlarged by statute, the husband has a
freehold interest, as at common law, in any such land unless it is her
separate property, that is, held to her sole and separate use.-1 In
order for such land to be classed as the wife’s separate property, the
deed conveying it to her must contain explicit words shutting out her
husband from his marital rights in it,4
_.A
,
To convey land acquired by her prior to February 13,1919, not her
separate property, the statute provides! aA husband and wife may,
by their joint deed, convey the real estate of the wife as she might do
by her separate deed if unmarried” (sec. 2639). The joint deed is
necessary to transfer a complete title because husband and wife are
one person in the eyes of the law as to such property.5
If a wife acquired real property on or after February 13, 1419,
whether or not the instrument conveying it to her specifically excludes
the marital right of her husband, it appears to be regarded as her
separate property, for she is empowered by statute (sec. 3164) to con­
vey or mortgage, and to manage and control it alone, unless it is home­
stead property or is owned with the husband as a tenancy by entirety.]
Estate by the Entirety.

This form of ownership is created by a conveyance to husband and
wife, and is a peculiar one. The parties take the property as one
person, and have but one title, each owning the whole. When one
party dies, the estate continues in the survivor. Neither acting alone
can convey the property to bind the other. A conveyance to husband




8

THE LEGAL STATUS OF WOMEN

and wife is expressly excepted from the operation of the statute (sec.
2632) abolishing joint tenancies.6
The husband has no interest in either the lands or the income from
them, held by himself and wife jointly, which can be taken to satisfy
his individual debts.7
Estates by entirety may exist in personal property growing out of
1^11 fjs^a^e a®well as in the land itself. The character of the interest
held by a wife in an estate by entirety is separate, or quasi separate,
property, and is free from the common-law marital rights of her
husband.8 910
Liability of a Wife’s Separate Property for Her Husband’s Debts.

The rents, issues and products of the real estate of a married woman,
and moneys and obligations arising from the sale of such real estate,
and the interest of her husband in her right in real estate which be­
longed to her before marriage, or which she acquires by gift, grant
devise or inheritance during coverture, shall, during coverture be
exempt from attachment or levy of execution for the sole debts of’her
husband; but such annual products may be attached or levied upon
for a debt or liability of her husband for the necessaries for the wife
ai i am
Sll°h husband, and for debts for labor or materials fur­
nished upon or for the cultivation or improvement of such real estate”
(sec. 3168).
The real estate of a married woman may be charged with a me­
chanic's lien, when she assents to the contract (sec. 2761). [This
;i‘ct]“laPI)llcs to land acquired by a married woman prior to February
13,1919, not her separate property. It would seem that as to other
real estate owned by a married woman the general law of liens applies.
See -\ umber 5 for wife’s general liability.]
The earnings of a married woman are not subject to seizure for her
husband’s debts (sec. 1808. VI).
Beal estate and tangible personal property, with the products from
asan estate by entirety, are chargeable during the hus­
band s lifetime for debts contracted by him after June 1, 1927 for the
necessary upkeep of the property. The liability is as complete as if he
owned the property m his name only (sec. 3167).
Rights of Wife Deserted, Abandoned, or Living Apart from Her Husband.

• 4? to Pr0Pei’ty in which a husband has his common-law marital
rights, when owned by an adult wife who has been deserted, aban­
doned, or left without support, statutory provision has been made for
mode li „?,SITS1011, °f the Wife’S Pr°Perty
through judicial
proceeding. A similar provision as to real estate held in the wife’s
own right is available to a married woman who is of age, and is sepalated from her husband for any cause other than her adultery if the
separation has continued for more than 1 year (secs. 3171. 3172)
2

^en (1909), 82 Vt. 549, 551 ; 74 Atl. 225
’
'
City of Barre v. Town of Bethel (1929), 102 Vt 22 27- 145 Atl 4in
l
V'
Tr°V (3 933), 105 Vt. 1,34 142 ; i63 Atl 770
'fdem
V- Hutchlnson <^01), 73 Vt. 134 ; 50 Atl. 810 ; 87 A S. R. 698. (Hist.)
’ Memth y' Emerv (1891)> 63 Vt- 505 ; 22 AO. 618 ; 25 A. S. E. 780.

* aZLVS&SjmSh
9? Atl. 250.
o
" ,,
1,0
*7/ j ]0t> vt- 90 ; ^i yy 10.'
’o°n^rZ‘JICrf/eHn\ (1926>>«zjl v i. it), 4>u,135 !Atl. Atl
3 George v. Dutton’s Estate (1920), 94 Vt. 76 ; 108
Atl. 515 ; 8 A. L. R. 1014.




9

VERMONT

10. Property Acquired After Marriage Through Cooperative
Efforts of Spouses—Ownership and Control.
The husband owns property acquired during the marriage by the
joint efforts of himself and his wife, as a general rule, by operation of
the common law. [See section 1263 as to adoption of common law.J
This rule may be varied by voluntary action such as .joint deeds or joint
bank accounts.
....
,
, . ,,
The common-law rule has been applied, that personal property in the
joint possession of parties who are husband and wife is presumed to
be the property of the husband, until proved otherwise.1
The statute giving a married woman the absolute right m her per­
sonal property and rights of action, and declaring such property tree
from liability for her husband’s debts, expressly provides that -nothing
herein contained shall authorize a claim by either husband or wife
against the other for personal services” (sec. 3166).
The fact that a wife assisted her husband in lus business and in car­
ing for the money which was the product of their joint labor is held not
to make any part of the money thus accumulated the property of the
wife.2
1 State v. Karnuda (1925), 98 Vt. 466, 473 ; 129 Atl. 306.
2 Monahan V. Monahan (1904), 77 Vt. 133, 138 ; 59 Atl. 169 , 70

L.

R. A. 935.

11. Damages Recovered for Injury by Strangers to a Married
Woman’s Person, Property, or Character—Ownership and
Control.
“Every person within this State ought to find a certain remedy, by
having recourse to the laws, for all injuries or wrongs which he may
receive in his person, property or character; he ought to obtain right
and justice, freely, and without being obliged to purchase it; compleatly and without any denial; promptly and without delay; con­
formably to the laws” (Const., ch. 1, art. 4).
A married woman may sue and be sued as to all contracts which she
is authorized by statute to make (sec. 3162). In general, all rights of
action acquired by a woman, either before or after her marriage, are
her sole and separate property (sec. 3166). See Number 9.
The court holds that these two statutes do not give a wife a right of
action against her husband for his torts against her, on the ground that
the legislature intended only parity between the spouses, and not to
o-ive to the wife a remedy which the husband did not possess against
her either at common law or under the statute.
“* * * the purpose of the statute was not to abolish the legal
identity of husband and wife, but to empower the wife, while that sta­
tus exists, to sue and be sued in her own name like a feme sole in those
instances where a right of action arose by reason of injuries to her com­
mitted by someone other than her husband.”1
The marriage of a woman during litigation to which she is a party
does not abate the action, but the marriage may be suggested upon the
record, and the case proceed as if she had remained unmarried
(sec. 3174).
1 Comstock v. Comstock (1934), 106 Vt. 50, 56 ; 169 Atl. 903.




10

THE LEGAL STATUS OF WOMEN

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.
Neither spouse has a right of civil action against the other for a tort
committed upon the one spouse by the other. See Number 11, reference
to Comstock decision (106 Vt. 50).
13. Competency of Spouses to Testify For or Against Each Other.
Husband and wife are competent witnesses for or against each other
m all causes, civil or criminal, except that neither may be allowed to
testify against the other as to a statement, conversation, letter, or other
communication made to the other or to another person. Neither
spouse may testify in any case as to a matter which, in the opinion of
the court, would lead to a violation of marital confidence. However
this statute does not prevent the parties to a divorce suit from testify­
ing as to all matters in such proceeding (sec. 1738).
In actions against a bank by a husband to recover for moneys de­
posited by his wife in her name or as her money, the wife may be a
witness as if she were an unmarried woman (sec. 8783).
Both husband and wife are competent to testify against each other
in matters related to actions for desertion and nonsupport of family
(sec. oloo).
14. Disposition of,Separate Property by Will—Extent of Married
Woman’s Right.
A person of age and sound mind may devise, bequeath and dispose
of liis estate, real and personal, and of any right or interest which he
lias in any real or personal estate, by his last will and testament, and
the word person” shall include a married woman (sec. 2816).
See also Number 17.
15. Estate of Deceased Husband or Wife—Share of Surviving
Spouse.
The real and personal estate of a deceased person, not passing by
will and not otherwise appropriated and distributed as directed by
statute, descends, with reference to a surviving spouse, in the follow­
ing manner:
ABSOLUTE INTERESTS

Share Under Inheritance Laws.

If no issue survive the decedent, the living spouse takes the entire
estate when not m excess of $4,000; or in an estate of greater value,
such survivor is entitled to $4,000 and one-half the remainder; or to
the entire estate if the decedent left no kindred who, under the descent
statutes, would be entitled to an inheritance in it. However, the sur­
viving spouse is not entitled to this absolute share if he or she elects
to take a third in value of the real estate of which the owner died seized
m his or her own right, or accepts the provisions of the decedent’s
will (sec. 3042. II). See paragraphs following.




VERMONT

11

Share of Widow in Lieu of Dower.

If a widow chooses her statutory share instead of dower, she is
entitled absolutely to one-third in value of all the real estate of which
her husband diedSeized. If the husband is survived by only one he
who is the issue of the widow or the heir by adoption of both spouses,
the widow is entitled absolutely to one-half m value of such real
^ThiiSatuJe makes the homestead right additional to the widow’s
interest in lieu of dower. Moreover, such interest is not subject to
PaCethe°4idoS™y btbar’red of her rights under section 3027 when:
fore man’ffige'by MSS-thout
her agreement or consent, or after her marnage with her ^nsent to
be effective at the husband’s death, and expressed to be m lieu or dis
charge of her one-third interest m the husband s real estate
121 The husband by will makes provision for her which, in the
judgment of the probate court, was intended to be m lieu of such onet]U(Z) ^hehusband dies leaving no children or their representatives
and the widow is thereby entitled to the provisions made by statute
in such cases [see section 3042. II] (sec. 3031).
Widow’s Right of Election.

Within the time provided by statute, the widow may waive any of
the foregoing provisions and take instead her share m lieu of dower
in the husband’s real estate, notifying the court in writing of her
61 ifthe widow was not the first wife of the decedent and he leaves no
issue by her, and an agreement was entered into between them before
or after their marriage regarding the widow s claim in lieu of th
third interest and if, in the opinion of the court, she has sufficient
provision for her comfortable support during life, the court maydeny
to her such one-third part of the real estate, or any provision other
than such as is provided by the agreement between the parties
(sec. 3031).
Widow’s Interest in Mortgaged Lands.

The widow is entitled to a third in value of the equity of redemption
of lands mortgaged by her husband or which he held at the time of
his decease under the mortgagor; and she may pay
amount due on the mortgage and have a third m value of the land, as
against the administrator, heirs, and creditors of her deceased hus­
band (sec. 3028).
Widow’s Right of Occupancy.

'

Until the third, or one-half, in value of the husband’s real estate is
set out to the widow, she may continue to occupy it, with the decedent s
children and family, or may receive one-third of the rents, issues, o
profits of such estate (secs. 3027 3036). A widow who elects to waive
her husband’s will and take under the statute giving her one-third m
value of the husband’s realty, is entitled also to this provision.
840456—49------3




12

THE LEGAL STATUS- OF WOMEN'

Share of Husband in Lieu of Curtesy.

<rncVVid0TT 1c^ooses his statutory share instead of curtesy he is
entitled absolutely to one-third in value of all the real estate of which
tlla
C ir!ifeiiZe< i
tlie wife is survived by only one heir who is
the issue of the husband or the heir by adoption of'both spouses the
Thfh!]iandrimavbeahSOlU51/ t0 onefalf in vallie of such real estate,
ine nusDand may be barred from such one-third, or one-half interest
mow6 IS 6+tltled to- and takes under the inheritance law [section
3042]or accepts a provision made for him in his wife's will (sec. 3040).
Husband’s Right of Election.

If a married woman dies leaving a will, her husband may waive its
slon? as a w’d°w raay waive the provisions of her husband’s will
Ihe piovisions of this section do not apply to the estates of married
women who died prior to November 8,1910 (sec. 3041).
Also see allowance to a surviving spouse under Number 16.
*Idemhard V' Blanchard’s Estate (1938), 109 Vt. 454, 461;

199 Atl. 233.

(Hist.)

16' P the*Estate F th® Surviving SP°use During Administration of
The probate court may make reasonable allowance for the expenses
in “thTfamilvo0/ *!? Wld°T ^ mm°r children’ or either, constitut2“
J of a deceased person, out of his personal estate or the
statute (sec. 302T)
’
g administration, as prescribed by
Allowance to a Surviving Spouse.

The surviving husband or widow receives from the decedent’s nersonal estate, not disposed of by will, all the articles of wearing apparel
thed^ameint’
decedent 3 wearing apparel, and such other part of
bond or w-ai eState asihe Prokate court assigns to the surviving husr dec rZ!IfT 1,^ to kls,or her circumstances and the estate
and degiee of the deceased, which may not be less than a third after
^“3018^ debtS’ fUneml Charges’ and exPenses of administration
The same allowance will be made:
Q2 f W]iien the surviving husband or widow waives the provision
dies wfithont1kLhpertl!1 redeCedent’s wdl (except that if the decedent
had mide“o wUl)o? h™* Sp0“Se ‘*keS eal*te as if th“
ciptYi6?
widow waives the jointure or pecuniary provision
substituted for her statutory interest in lieu of dower: or ‘ 1
.JZlieij either spouse waives the provisions of the law in case
the decedent died without issue. Such allowance is to be in lieu of
his or her claim to the personal estate.
, ,
, ,11 th.e widow was not the first wife of the deceased, and
ne does not leave issue by her, and an agreement was entered into be­
tween them previous to their marriage, this provision shall be sub ject
1 he exception m relation to the allowance of such third interest to
the widow m such cases” (sec. 3019).
The decedent’s wearing apparel, if he leaves a widow, the articles
oi apparel and ornament of the widow, according to the estate and




VERMONT

13

Number 3 as to homestead exemption to surviving spou • .
Household Goods.

T,

ourvivina- husband or widow of a deceased person residing with

Sn^ch* dec^Slison dies intestate withjrt
™ng “Twh^Se^ydSVLSs^tS^ofth.
5^4,£ surging spouse is entitled under other proves,ons
of law (sec. 3020).
Summary Administration of Small Estates.

“Tinto SS‘ "^rtrtKlufo&O, or the

111,£

Sj£

children, for their use and benefit (sec. 30).
17. Disinheritance of Husband or Wife by Will of Deceased
Spouse—Survivor’s Alternative.
The rights of a surviving spouse are paramount to ali others, ™
7£h£e£^n» rf'l'anfmade by . husband during mar,4e to tatolffect at his death in order to defeat h,s w.dov, s share
in his real estate does not bar her right (sec. 3039).
See Number 9 as to wife’s power of conveyance.
II.—MARRIAGE AND DIVORCE

18. Age of Consent to Marriage-Men and Women.

the certificate of a designated judge to the effect that the public
good requires such license to be issued (secs. 21, 4131).
Number 225 grounds for annulment.




14

THE LEGAL STATUS OF WOMEN

19. Validity of Common-Law Marriage.
in Iuec^0n
o!ie TimnT kfWin rc¥ion to marriage was never
2°' HUctehn^Me“andEWomen!S Pri°r

IsS"a"ce °f Marria**

r>WC^ Party *?. an application for license to marry must file a licensed
feieceassaSrveexamSat-Sh07mf-that both/PPlicants have been given
e necessary examination for discovery of syphilis including n stanrl
ard serological test, within the 30 days immediately preceding hf rh.t

aa? licer ■ The

St£So$!

l°f fe physician the person named in the certificate either is not
mfected with spyhihs, or if so infected, is not in a stage of the disease
premarftaTtStyTnbeC°hme com™lcable to the marital partner. The
premarital test may be waived upon authority of the probate indo-e
in specified cases (secs. 4121-4127).
J
piooate judge
ferWl^PL11’ havil!g been toId by a Physician that he or she was in-

that he or she is free from such a disease, in a stale which is of mav
become communicable to the marital partner shalLbe imprisoned not
less than 2 years or fined not less than $500” or both (sec! 85021
inter P6rS°n 7^?’Jvblle infected with gonorrhea or syphilis has sexual

SSHw? JS 85e037pnsoned not less than 2 years or fi-d“

21. Interstate Cooperation in Marriage Law Enforcement.
contracted ouetsiSdeVtbe
,aP PurPoses in the State of Vermont if
of evadina- t ie vi^f S/ ° by- any of lts residents for the purpose
returnWSto VcXinnt0T mar™ge ilws/‘nd with the intention of
3154™ g
V
t for continued residence after marriage (sec.
A marriage is prohibited and void if contracted within the State
£
b? Vesident of another State, when the marriage is
Jeturnto^hatSN eTS °f -SVch °ther State, and the party intends to
return to that State to reside after marriage (sec 3155)
1 Wheelock y. Wheelock (1931), 103 Vt. 417 ; 154 Atl. 665.

'

22' GrEd„V^0“a^iSge Annt,’ment Respective Availability to
of forbidden degrees of relationship
lPrLr -V i Parties 01 because either has a former wife or husband
(seesg315S3 3190rd h h“ ?i\State’are 7oid without any court action
granted ft is!Lt fboidd be noted that when a divorce has been
person Other tW Htl f f01' he party complained of to marry any
person other than the former spouse within 2 years of the date the
divorce is granted, unless the former spouse has died within such
time or permission of the court is obtained (sec. 3258).




15

VERMONT

55SS& w «*
&^,SiS£ffS£&!3t ~f4?a t. d»la“red
valid by court decree (sec. 3161).
23. Grounds for Divorce—Respective Availability to Spouses.
An absolute divorce may be granted: (1) For ^ultery^ eit^
r&£> US fO£S%XS& £3? SnST™ at

?r^H££8K352£
(sec. 3205)
f
bed and board,” forever
„rVr“a itw «^.%»gpon petition be decreed for an, of the
causes for which an absolute divorce may be granted (sec. 32 8).
See Number 22.
III.—PARENTS AND CHILDREN

24. Services and Earnings of Minor Children-Parents' Respec
tive Rights.
married woman whose husband deserts her or from intemperance
orZeZaoe” been,nee ‘”X'lhl1ab^"fh“ miZ'SrS she
StieTfo* rleeZd^afsgfo'AnS'recover such wages in
a

her own name (sec 3170).
the father is entitled to the
sKSrSErf& * t,=x ■“ ®

jurisdiction.
See also Numbers 25 and 26.
25. Guardianship of Minor Children-Parents’ Respective Rights.
The father and mother of a
p^teirbeSesTe
guardian (sec. 3292). The mother of an




16

THE LEGAL STATUS OF WOMEN

appSte(sS“s293)'-ld “ gU"'<i"11 °f

ChiM m,ti‘ “°thM iS

to deceive tt’”™ SSff? “J- eBta5f “
""«■ be appointed
to leecive it, even though the minor has a parent living who is n,
thorized to act as guardian (sec. 3297) ; but in such case the parent so
(sech 3298) “a miaXT^ as guardian.if approved by the court
tsec
A guardian of a minor appointed by the probate court
has the care and management of the child’s estate and except as
otherwise provided the custody and tuition of the miimrThe
hf«a^iailf-S 1 e(lm[ed to furnish him suitable employment, provide for
his education and instruction in science or some trade or profession

sz&tf&ssssr',nd m”y bind him out “2
““r’f !he time oi appointing a guardian of the minor, deems the
parent to be competent and suitable for that purpose (sec. 3305).

Guar<lian

ChMre“-

26' ^atWLmav’IllS 1;!st Wl11’ aPP0int guardians for his minor cliil,or Minor
dren, whether living at the time of makinj the will or born afterward
and such guardians are to be governed by the laws applicable to guardlans appointed by the probate court (sec. 3306). But see Number 25
as to provision for custody and education when the mother is living
27' ^Righfs11^ fr°m an Intestate Child—Parents’ Respective
hJTh preal
PeCs°nal estate of a deceased person, not disposed of
by will nor otherwise appropriated and distributed under the1 statute
ma-ybe “halted by his or her parents as follows:
’
Xx hen the decedent is a married person and leaves no issue the re
maining portion of the estate, after the share of the surviving husband
or widow has been set apart [see Number 15], descends to the lather
and mother of the decedent in equal shares if both are living
the survivor of them if one is dead
g’ or to
When the decedent leaves neither spouse nor issue the -feihe^

(isasaf^ °r’i£ -is ^ «*• --­
28- S?re0Re8°ptonShibm^ BOrn °Ul °f Wedloct-Parente- Respec
When the paternity of a child born, or to be born, out of wedlock
has been established under the judicial proceeding provided bv statute
t le adjudged father is ordered by the court to support the child' with
the assistance of the mother, in such manner anTproporttn^s the
court judges proper, and for such time as the childTs likebv to be
tCtbnr™SU?POrt-ptSelf’ aUd 110 lor'2er’ and he must pay to the mother
lust
cost°snn°/thXPenSeS a rea<ly incurred which the court deems
S n p,ll
proceeding, at such time as the court directs
the father for performance of the
rt s orders (sec. 3274). Failure to supply bond and make required




o*
VERMONT

17

payments subjects the adjudged-father to jail commitment^3275)
and his refusal to make required payments will cause judgment to be
entered and execution issued to enforce payment (sec. 627b).
29. Inheritance from Child Born Out of Wedlock-Mother’s Right.
The estate of a person born out of wedlock wlm dies intestate and
without issue or spouse surviving, descends to the decedent s mother
and if the mother is dead, through the mother s line as if the decedent
had been born in wedlock (sec. 3044).
B.—POLITICAL RIGHTS
30. Domicile of Married Women.
Since in the absence of an express statute the common law governs,
the wife’s domicile is determined by that of her husband, as a general
rUFor the purpose of voting at a general election, a person’s residence
is determined by the residence of his family if within the State and
supported by him. If he has no such family, his residence is m the
town where'he has actually spent his time during the 3 months pre­
ceding the election (sec. 103).
31. Public Office—Eligibility of Women.
A person may not be debarred on account of sex from holding any
office or position of trust or responsibility under the State, including
United States senator and representative to Congress, or any county,
town, city, village, town school district, or incorporated fire, lighting,
or school district office (sec. 108).
32. Jury Service—Eligibility of Women.
Women are eligible for jury duty equally with men (secs. 1459,
1462,1584,1586,1594,1597).

*