Under the Married Womens Property Act, it has already been stated, a womans property remains unaffected by marriage; nevertheless it is still the common practice to draw up a marriage settlement between husband and wife either before or soon after marriage with the object of preserving the real and personal property for the benefit of both parties. Such a deed declares the rights of husband and wife and the possible issue of the marriage and appoints a trustee to ensure that the covenants in the deed are duly performed If necessary the Court will enforce the performance of the covenants.
Property comprised in the settlement will be protected against other claims provided the deed was executed in good faith and without fraud. A clause preventing a woman from anticipating her income by pledging it in advance, called a restraint on anticipation, is common in marriage settlements.
As to property not dealt with under the settlement, for example, furniture, it maj be said that such chattels belong to the party who bought them, but as neither husband nor wife can steal from the other while they are living together, it follows that a charge of larceny can only be brought if the furniture be taken away by the party who deserts the other.