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Husband And Wife

( Originally Published 1918 )

Liability of Husband for Goods Sold to Wife. —When goods necessary and suitable to the position in life of a wife are sold to her, the jury will be justified in finding a verdict against the husband, if the husband authorized her either expressly or impliedly (e. g., by permitting it as a common practice), or if the husband himself neglected or refused to furnish her with such necessaries. This rule is subject to exceptions. [See "Statutory Rights of Women."]

Wife Living Apart from Her Husband.—A husband is not liable for necessaries furnished his wife when she lives separate from him under decree of court not requiring him to maintain her, and in some cases where she lives apart by agreement he is not liable.

Separate Maintenance.—Where the wife leaves her husband without sufficient cause, she will not be entitled to a decree for separate maintenance. When she leaves him with his consent and on account of his ill treatment, he is liable for the expense of a separate maintenance.


In ancient domestic life the father ruled as absolute monarch over the family. So it is still in oriental countries. Christian civilization has greatly modified this and laws have been enacted that set forth the relation of parent and child, defining the duties and obligations of each.

Rights of Parents

1. As long as a child is under age he is subject to the control of the parents, who have all reasonable authority to enforce obedience. As long as a child is properly treated by the parents no one has a right to interfere nor to take away and retain a child against the parents' wishes.

2. Adopting a Child.—When a child is adopted by another family its parents lose their claim upon it and the adopting persons take their place. A child cannot, generally speaking, be adopted without the consent of its parents.

A child over fourteen must himself in some states consent to the adoption. The court has in all cases the right to consent to or refuse the adoption. Application must, therefore, be made at the county court and the judge will consider it and pass upon it.

3. Punishment.—Parents have a right to punish their minor children, providing they are not guilty of cruelty. Brutality is severely punished by law as a crime. The punishment must be reasonable, leaving no bruises nor injuring the health of the child.

4. Claims Upon Earnings.—While the child is a minor parents have a right to all his earnings. They can claim them of his employer. Parents, however, may free the child and allow him to collect and use his own wages. When this is once made public the parents cannot thereafter collect the child's wages.

5. A Runaway Child.—A child has no right to leave home without permission of the parents; if he does he can be brought back by force. Relations or others who would keep him can be forced by law to give him up unless it can be shown that the father is brutal in his treatment of the child or is not capable because of drunkenness or other causes to properly care for the child.

Obligations of Parents

Obligation to Support. The law requires that parents shall support their minor children. A child having property of his own does not relieve the parents from supporting him. They can, however, by applying to the court, get permission to use a part or all of the income or principal of the child's property for his support. Beyond this the parents have no claim upon or control over the child's property. This should be managed by a legally appointed guardian.

Children's Rights and Obligations

1. A child can own property, over which the parents have no control, except the use of the in-come or principal of the same for the support of the child, as stated above.

2. In some states where it is shown that parents are unable to support themselves the child is under legal obligation to support and care for them, at least do what he can toward such sup-port.

3. If a child commits a premeditated crime he is personally liable; parents cannot be held responsible for crimes committed by their minor children.

4. Guardian.—A guardian may be appointed over an orphan child, or the child may under certain circumstances nominate or suggest his own guardian if he be of a certain age (14 years in Pennsylvania), who in a legal sense exercises all the authority of a parent.

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