At the present time, in most, if not all of the States of the United States, real property acquired by a woman before marriage is her "statutory separate estate" and is free, in whole, or in part, from the husband's control in varying degrees as the acts of the various legislatures differ. In most of the States real property acquired by the wife after marriage, is likewise withheld by statute from the husband's control. This statutory separate estate of the wife is not, as of old, liable for the husband's debts. The husband still has, however, that right of possession which is incidental to his right to live with his wife, since these statutes do not affect the family relation.

The power of the wife to dispose of such separate estate is usually determined by the provisions of the statute by which it is created. Her statutory real property she cannot, perhaps in a majority of the States, dispose of by conveyance without the joinder, or at least the written consent, of her husband, though in some States, notably New York, the statute clearly gives her the power so to do.