Pre-Marriage Contracts

On the pre-marriagc contracts of his wife the husband is only liable to the extent of the property which he has acquired or become entitled to through her. Primarily all debts contracted by a wife before marriage are payable out of her separate estate. Therefore if she has means and refuses to pay after a judgment has been obtained against her she can be sent to prison like any other debtor.

As to contracts made by a married womanafter her marriage, it is provided by the Married Womens Property Act, 1893, that unless she be an agent such contract shall be deemed to be entered into with her, shall bind her separate property either in possession or acquired afterwards, and shall be enforced against such property. So far as her separate estate is concerned she can contract with her husband and sue him in respect of it.

An agreement between husband and wife to live apart is a valid contract enforceable by the Courts provided it is made in con-templation of an immediate separation. Where a deed is drawn up in prospect of separation at some future date it is invalid as being contrary to public policy.

A separation agreement is usually made by deed, a document signed and delivered under seal and stamped, though this is strictly speaking unnecessary. Before enforcing any provisions on a separation agreement regarding the custody of a child the Court will inquire if they are for the benefit of the child and if dissatisfied will not order them to be obeyed.

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