Sec.9. As the husband, by common law, acquires, by marriage, an interest in the property of his wife, he becomes liable for her debts contracted before marriage; but if they are not recovered of him during coverture, he is discharged Coverture, in law, is the state of a married woman, considered as under cover, or under the power of her husband. Some of the states which have abolished the common law right of the husband to the property of the wife acquired before marriage, have also abolished the common law obligation of the husband to pay the debts of the wife contracted before marriage; her property alone being liable for such debts.
Sec.10. The husband is bound to maintain his wife, and is liable for debts which she may contract for necessaries, but for nothing more. If he refuses to provide for her wants, or if, through other ill treatment or fault on his part, they become separate, he is liable to fulfill her contracts for necessaries, even though he has forbidden persons to trust her. If they part by consent, and he secures to her a separate maintenance, and pays it according to agreement, he is not liable, even for necessaries.
Sec.11. The husband and wife can not be witnesses for or against each other; but any declarations made by a wife when acting as agent for her husband, may be admitted in evidence against him. In a few states, laws have been proposed, and, it is believed, in some they have been passed, removing, to some extent, this restriction upon the right of a husband or wife to the testimony of the other.
Domestic Relations, continued. Parent and Child; Guardian and Ward; Minors; Masters, Apprentices, and Servants.
Sec.1. Parents, as the natural guardians of their children, are obliged to provide for their support and education during their minority, or while they are under twenty-one years of age. At twenty-one they attain the age of majority, when they are said to be of age. Under this age they are, in law, infants, or minors. The father, if he is able, is bound to support his minor children, even if they have property of their own; but in such case the mother is not so bound. But a husband is not obliged to maintain the child of his wife by a former husband. If, however, he takes the child into his family, he is responsible for its maintenance and education while it lives with him.
Sec.2. A father may be liable for necessaries sold to a child. But to be so liable, it must be proved that the contract for the articles was made by his actual authority, or the circumstances must be sufficient to imply authority; or that neglect to provide for the child, or some other fault on the part of the father, rendered assistance to the child necessary. Being bound to provide for his children, the father has a right to their labor or service; and he may recover their wages from any person employing them without his consent.