This section is from the book "The Law Of Contracts", by William Herbert Page. Also available from Amazon: Commercial Contracts: A Practical Guide to Deals, Contracts, Agreements and Promises.
When the Common Law theory of the relation between husband and wife, and the effect of marriage upon the status of the wife existed, the statutes generally contained a specific provision that limitations should not run against a married woman.1 Under the modern theory of the relation between the husband and wife, and the power of a married woman, a question has arisen as to the propriety of the former statutory exception of a married woman from the operation of the statutes of limitation. Of course as long as no modification of any sort has been made by statute, the courts have no power to repeal the statutory exception on the ground that they think it no longer wise or necessary. On the other hand, if the statutes of limitation is amended, and the class of married women is specifically omitted from the list of statutory exceptions, there can be no question that limitations runs against her.2 The question presenting difficulty arises where the statute of limitations is not itself amended, but married women's acts had been passed, giving her full control over her property, and providing that she can sue and be sued as if she was unmarried. In such cases the weight of authority holds that the married woman's act operates as an implied modification of the statute of limitations.3 Some authorities, however, hold that the married woman's act does not affect the statute of limitations, and that the married woman is still exempt from the general operation of the statute of limitations.4 Most of the cases last cited, however, were under statutes giving the married woman power to sue but not removing her disabilities generally. Thus a married woman who is registered as a free-trader and has thus by statute the power of contracting as a feme sole is still protected by the statutes of limitation.5 At Common Law neither husband nor wife could maintain an action against the other. Accordingly, if the adversary parties to a contract intermarry, the right to maintain an action on such contract is suspended by the paramount authority of the law, and limitations does not run.6 Where a cause of action can exist in favor of a wife against her husband limitations does not run during coverture,7 but begins to run at the death of the husband.8
5 Lantis v. Davidson, 60 Kan. 389; 56 Pac. 745; Kelley v. Gallup, 67 Minn. 169; 69 N. W. 812.
6 Lantis v. Davidson, 60 Kan. 389; 56 Pac. 745.
1 Wright v. Tichenor, 104 Ind. 185; 3 N. E. 853; Johnson v. Edwards. 109 N. C. 466; 26 Am. St. Rep. 580; Harris v. Smith, 98 Tenn. 286; 39 S. W. 343.
2 Clark v. Gibbons, 83 N. Y. 107.
3 Cameron v. Smith, 50 Cal. 303; Castner v. Walrod, 83 111. 171; 25 Am. .Rep. 369; Curbay v. Bellemer, 70 Mich. 106; 37 N. W. 911; Murphy v. Laundry Co., 52 Neb. 593; 72 N. W. 960.