Last week while surfing the web I came across this definition of the word “Dowry” — n. from the days when a groom expected to profit from a marriage, the money and personal property which a bride brings to her new husband which becomes his alone. Dowry still exists in the Civil Code of Louisiana. (Source) also mentions that “In England and the United States (except for Louisiana), the dowry system is not recognized as law.”

However, after searching through the Louisiana Civil Code I was unable to find any laws that mentioned this. I was hoping maybe some of the law types who read this could fill the rest of us in on the details.

This could have a significant impact on my life. My current maiden is mired in peasantry and I can’t imagine that her family could scrape together more than a pittance for dowry. I’m thinking perhaps I need to be in a more, how you say, ‘supportive’ relationship. Here’s my new personals ad:

Gentleman caller, 24, in search of matron, 35-50, for long term relationship. Me: Lover of music, food, dowries, long walks. You: Financially secure, generous, etc. Serious inquries only.

But seriously, is this still law, or has it been phased out in recent times?

4 Comments so far

  1. Tyler (unregistered) on May 10th, 2005 @ 12:00 pm

    I don’t know about LA in particular, but in most cases the class of laws like this (regarding marriage and sexual relations) are still on the books.

    Welcome to how the past digs its icey fingers into the meat of your present and future.

  2. max Sparber (unregistered) on May 10th, 2005 @ 1:06 pm

    You know, Saint Nicholas, prior to becoming Santa Claus, was most famous for two things: Fighting the Arian heresy, and flinging money through the window of a man with too many daughters and not enough dowry.

  3. Aaron (unregistered) on May 10th, 2005 @ 11:55 pm

    Former Civil Code Article 2382: “When the wife has not brought any dowry, or when what she brought as a dowry is inconsiderable with respect to the condition of the husband, if either the husband or the wife die rich, leaving the survivor in necessitous circumstances, the latter has a right to take out of the succession of the deceased what is called the marital portion; that is, the fourth of the succession in full property, if there be no children, and the same portion, in usufruct only, when there are but three or a smaller number of children; and if there be more than three children, the surviving, whether husband or wife, shall receive only a child’s share in usufruct, and he is bound to include in this portion what has been left to him as a legacy by the husband or wife, who died first.” It was revised last by the civil code of 1870, and then it was repealed in 1979 and has not been law since January 1, 1980 when the repeal went into effect.

  4. Aaron (unregistered) on May 10th, 2005 @ 11:59 pm

    FYI, the CC article I posted was on the marital portion specifically and only mentioned the dowry. If you actually want more detailed information I’m going to have to start billing you.

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