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In law, the inclusion of a woman in the legal person of her husband upon marriage. Because of coverture, married women formerly lacked the legal capacity to hold their own property or to contract on their own behalf (seecontract); similarly, a husband's tax payments or jury duty covered his wife as well. Aspects of coverture survived well into the 20th century; the term is still used in law when dividing jointly held property in divorce proceedings.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on coverture, visit Britannica.com.