AN ACT for the Protection of Women.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the State of Delaware in General Assembly met,

Property of SECTION 1. That the real and personal property of any female married women, who may hereafter marry and which she shall own at the time of her marriage, or that any female now married may receive by gift, grant, devise or bequest from any person other than her husband, shall be her sole and separate property, and the rents, issues and profits thereof shall not be subject to the disposal

of her husband nor liable for his debts.

SECTION 2. That all debts contracted before marriage by the wife, or by her authority after marriage, shall be a charge on her real and personal property, and a judgment therefor may be recovered against her in her name.

SECTION 3. That any married woman may receive the wages of her personal labor not performed for family, maintain an action therefor in her own name, and hold them in her own right against her husband or any other person; she may deposit the same, or any other money belonging to her, in her own name in any bank, savings bank, or other institution for the safe keeping of, money, subject to her sole right and authority to withdraw the same in whole or in part at any time without the consent or control of her husband, and upon the payment to her by any bank, savings bank, or other institution for the safe keeping of money, of any moneys so deposited, they shall be exonerated from any further liability therefor.

SECTION 4. That any married woman may prosecute and defend suits at law or in equity for the preservation and protection of her property as if unmarried, or may do it jointly with her husband, but he alone cannot maintain an action respecting his wife's property; and it shall be lawful for any married woman to make any and all manner of contracts necessary to be made with respect to her own property, and suits may be maintained on such contracts as though the party making them was a femme sole.

SECTION 5. That any married woman of the age of twenty-one years and upwards may, with the written consent of her husband, given under his hand and seal in the presence of two witnesses, dispose of her property, both real and personal, by will; but such disposal shall not effect the rights of the husband as tenant by the courtesy ; and if she die intestate, her property, both real and personal, shall descend to her heirs as now provided by law and administration and distribution shall take place accordingly, but a husband and wife, by a marriage contract executed in the presence of two witnesses before marriage, may determine what contract rights each shall have in the other's estate during marriage and after its dissolution by death, and may bar each other of all rights in their respective estates not so secured to them, and if any married woman shall die intestate without having had any lawful issue, then and in that case her husband shall be entitled to hold one-half part of all her real estate after the payment of all her just debts for and during the term of his natural life.

SECTION 6. That any married woman may release to her husband the right to control her property, or any part of it, and to dispose of the income thereof for their mutual benefit, and may, in writing, revoke the same.

SECTION 7. That all acts and parts of acts if inconsistent with, this act be and they are hereby repealed.

Passed at Dover, April 9, 1873.