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Marriage Settlements

Heritage Community Foundation, Albertasource.ca and The Famous Five Foundation



Matrimonial Property Law in Quebec

The Swedish Marriage Act

Reading: The Danger of Alimony

Reading: Role of the Church


In the manuscript "Article III: About Marriage Settlements," Emily Murphy discusses the advantage of alternative systems to the Dower Law in operation in Western Canada. Specifically, she looks at the Community Property Law that existed in Quebec, as well as the Swedish Marriage Act, which became effective in 1920. Aside from her review of matrimonial property law drawn from different systems, Murphy also takes the opportunity to diagnose the root of the problem underlying the need for marital property rights:

"They twain [husband and wife] may be of one flesh but certainly not of one spirit. Truly, this is a sad and sorrowful matter. . . . The only solution of these difficulties of property rights in marriage lies in an actual partnership. . . .

This balance of power, or code of equity, can only be accomplished through the harmonious conjunction of fair men and strong women. No longer should we concern or content ourselves with the mere re-shuffling of the matrimonial cards in that old and ever odious game popularly described as 'beggar my neighbour.' The whole position should be summed up in three words: comity of interests. There should no longer be occasion for what is now called 'feminism,' or 'the woman's movement,'—a consummation to be devoutly desired by men and women alike."

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