In considering what effect, if any, the legislation in this State has had upon the right of the husband to the rents, profits and control of lands held by him and his wife in entirety, during their joint lives, it is important to regard not only the language, but the spirit of the new enactments. The sole purpose of the original statute of 1848 was to secure to married women the enjoyment of their real and personal property which belonged to them at the time of their marriage, or which they might thereafter acquire by gift, grant or bequest from third persons, and to abrogate the common-law right of the husband in and to the real and personal property of the wife. The right to the rents and profits of her lands jure uxoris, during the joint lives, was completely swept away, not by express enactment, but as a necessary consequence of investing her with the beneficial use of her own property, free from his control. Subsequent legislation confirmed her rights as defined by the Act of 1848, and enlarged them in other directions, but the Act of 1848 was the seed from which all the subsequent legislation sprung. This legislation rendered unnecessary any longer the cumbrous mechanism of settlements or resort to the imperfect powers of Courts of Chancery to secure to married women the enjoyment of their own property.
In determining the question now before us, too much emphasis cannot be placed upon the fact that the legislation of 1848 and the subsequent years uprooted the principle of the common law, hoary with age, which vested in the husband, by virtue of the marriage relation, control of the property of his wife and the right to exclude her from its enjoyment. If it is still held, notwithstanding this legislation, that the husband takes the whole rents and profits during coverture in lands held in entirety, and may exclude the wife from any participation therein, an exception is allowed, standing upon no principle, and it deprives the wife, although she has an undoubted interest and estate in the land, from any benefit thereof during the lives of both. There are, as we can perceive, but two other alternatives. Either the rents and profits follow the nature of the estate, and can neither be disposed of nor charged except by the joint act of both husband and wife, which seems to be the view taken in McCurdy v. Canning, 64 Pa. St. 39, or the parties become tenants in common or joint tenants of the use, each being entitled to one-half of the rents and profits during the joint lives, with power to each to dispose of or to charge his or her moiety during the same period, which seems to be the view taken in Buttlar v. Rosenblath, 42 N. J. Eq. 651. We think the rule adopted in New Jersey best reconciles the difficulties surrounding the subject. The estate granted is not thereby changed. It leaves it untouched, with all its common-law incidents. It deals with the rents and profits and the use and control of the estate during coverture only, and gives to each party equal rights so long as the question of survivorship is in abeyance, thereby conforming to the intention of the new legislation to take away the husband's right jure uxoris, in his wife's property, and to enable the wife to have and enjoy " whatever estate she gets by any conveyance made to her or to her and others jointly, and does not enlarge or diminish that estate." The rule in Pennsylvania not only deprives the husband of his common-law right to the enjoyment of the whole rents and profits, but of the enjoyment of any share thereof, except with the concurrence and permission of his wife.
The conclusion we have reached requires a reversal of the judgment below so far as it adjudges that the mortgage executed by the husband to the plaintiff, and the sale thereunder, vested in the plaintiff the right to the possession of the whole estate during the joint lives of Mr. and Mrs. Fisher. The husband had a right to mortgage his interest, which was a right to the use of an undivided half of the estate during the joint lives and to the fee in case he survived his wife, and by the foreclosure and sale the plaintiff acquired this interest and became a tenant in common with the wife of the premises subject to her right of survivorship. The opinion of the General Term exhibits, with great clearness, the reasons upon which it was held that a conveyance or mortgage by the husband, without restrictive words, binds the fee in case he survives the wife. See 1 Wash. Real Prop. 425; 1 Prest. Est. 135; Ames v. Nor/nan, supra.
The judgment below should be modified in accordance with this opinion, and, as modified, affirmed, without costs to either party.
5. Estate in Homestead.1
11 Kansas, 19. - 1873. [Reported herein at p. 711.]
6. Community Property.
Bell, J., in
23 Texas, 25. - 1859.
The principle which lies at the foundation of the whole system of community property is, that whatever is acquired by the joint efforts of the husband and wife shall be their common property. It would be unnecessary consumption of time to quote authorities for this proposition.
It is true that in a particular case satisfactory proof might be made, that the wife contributed nothing to the acquisitions; or, on the other hand, that the acquisitions of property were owing wholly to the wife's industry. But from the very nature of the marriage relation the law cannot permit inquiries into such matters. The law, therefore, conclusively presumes that whatever is acquired, except by gift, devise or descent, or by the exchange of one kind of property for another kind, is acquired by their mutual industry. If a crop is made by the labor of the wife's slaves on the wife's land, it is community property, because the law presumes that the husband's skill or care contributed to its production; or that he, in some other way, contributed to the common acquisitions.1
1 The "homestead" interest is in some jurisdictions an estate, of a special character, in the husband alone, in others it is a sort of joint estate in husband and wife, in still other jurisdictions it is not regarded as an estate at all. See the American note to Hutchins' Williams on Real Property, pp. 153-163, for a general view of the statutory provisions and the leading decisions thereunder. For the New York statute, see §§ 1397 - 1404, Code Civ. Pro. - Ed.