Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 55.1. Property and Conveyances
Subtitle I. Property Conveyances
Chapter 2. Property Rights of Married Persons
1/27/2023

Chapter 2. Property Rights of Married Persons.

§ 55.1-200. How married persons may acquire and dispose of property.

Married persons shall have the right to acquire, hold, use, control, and dispose of property as if they were unmarried. Such power of use, control, and disposition shall apply to all property of a married person. The marital rights of persons married to each other shall not entitle either spouse to the possession or use, or to the rents, issues, and profits, of such real estate of the other spouse during the coverture, nor shall the property of either spouse be subject to the debts or liabilities of the other spouse.

Code 1919, § 5134; 1932, p. 21; Code 1950, § 55-35; 1990, c. 831; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-201. Contracts of, and actions by and against, married persons.

A married person may contract and be contracted with and sue and be sued in the same manner and with the same consequences as if he were unmarried, regardless of the date on which the right or liability asserted by or against him accrued. In an action by a married person to recover for a personal injury inflicted on him, he may recover the entire damage sustained, including the personal injury and expenses arising out of the injury, whether chargeable to him or his spouse, notwithstanding that the spouse may be entitled to the benefit of his services about domestic affairs and consortium, and any sum recovered therein shall be chargeable with expenses arising out of the injury, including hospital, medical, and funeral expenses, and any person, including the spouse, partially or completely discharging such debts shall be reimbursed out of the sum recovered in the action, whensoever paid, to the extent that such payment was justified by services rendered or expenses incurred by the obligee, provided that written notice of such claim for reimbursement, and the amount and items thereof, shall be served on such married person and on the defendant prior to any settlement of the sum recovered by him, and no action for such injury, expenses, or loss of services or consortium shall be maintained by his spouse.

Code 1919, § 5134; 1932, p. 21; Code 1950, § 55-36; 1950, p. 460; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-202. Spouse not responsible for other spouse's contracts, etc.; mutual liability for necessaries; responsibility of personal representative.

Except as otherwise provided in this section, a spouse shall not be responsible for the other spouse's contract or tort liability to a third party, whether such liability arose before or after the marriage. The doctrine of necessaries as it existed at common law shall apply equally to both spouses, except where they are permanently living separate and apart, but shall in no event create any liability between such spouses as to each other. No lien arising out of a judgment under this section shall attach to the judgment debtors' principal residence held by them as tenants by the entirety or that was held by them as tenants by the entirety prior to the death of either spouse where the tenancy terminated as a result of the death of either spouse.

Code 1919, § 5134; 1932, p. 22; Code 1950, § 55-37; 1984, c. 504; 1985, c. 202; 2012, c. 45; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-203. Spouse's right of entry into land not barred by certain judgments; when a spouse may defend his right in lands that are his inheritance.

A spouse shall not be barred of his right of entry into land by a judgment in the other spouse's lifetime by default or collusion, but after the other spouse's death may prosecute the same by any proper action; or, in the lifetime of the other spouse, if the other spouse will not appear or, against the spouse's consent, will render the spouse's lands during the coverture in an action against both spouses for lands that are the spouse's inheritance, the spouse may come at any time before judgment and defend his right.

Code 1919, § 5441; Code 1950, § 55-38; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-204. Rights of spouse not affected by other spouse's acts only.

No conveyance or other act by one spouse only of any land that is the inheritance of the other spouse shall be or make any discontinuance thereof, or be prejudicial to the other spouse or his heirs or to any having right or title to the same by his death, but they may respectively enter into such land, according to their right and title in such land, as if no such conveyance or act had been done.

Code 1919, § 5442; Code 1950, § 55-39; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-205. Conveyance from married persons; effect on right of either spouse.

When persons married to each other have signed and delivered a writing purporting to convey any estate, real or personal, such writing, whether recorded or not, shall (i) if delivered prior to January 1, 1991, operate to convey from the spouse her right of dower or his right of curtesy in the real estate embraced in such writing and (ii) if delivered after December 31, 1990, operate to manifest the spouse's written consent or joinder, as contemplated in § 64.2-305 or 64.2-308.9 to the transfer embraced in such writing. In either case, the writing passes from such spouse and his representatives all right, title, and interest of every nature that at the date of such writing he may have in any estate conveyed thereby as effectually as if he were at such date an unmarried person. If, in either case, the writing is a deed conveying a spouse's land, no covenant or warranty in such land on behalf of the other spouse joining in the deed shall operate to bind him any further than to convey his interest in such land, unless it is expressly stated that such spouse enters into such covenant or warranty for the purpose of binding himself personally.

Code 1919, § 5211; Code 1950, § 55-41; 1977, c. 147; 1990, c. 831; 1991, c. 625; 1992, cc. 617, 647; 2016, cc. 187, 269; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-206. How infant spouse may release interests in spouse's property.

Notwithstanding the disability of infancy, on or after January 1, 1991, an infant spouse, whether married before or after January 1, 1991, may release his marital rights in the other spouse's real or personal property by uniting in any contract, deed, or other instrument executed by the other spouse or by a commissioner of a court pursuant to an order entered under §§ 8.01-67 through 8.01-77 or any other law with respect to the infant's property.

1992, cc. 617, 647, § 55-42.1; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-207. Appointment of attorney-in-fact by married person; effect of writing executed by such attorney.

A married person, whether a resident of the Commonwealth or not, may, by power of attorney duly executed and acknowledged as prescribed in § 55.1-612 or 55.1-613, appoint an attorney-in-fact to execute and acknowledge, for him and in his name, any deed or other writing that he might execute. Every deed or other writing so executed by such attorney-in-fact in pursuance of such power of attorney while the same remains in force shall be valid and effectual, in all respects, to convey the interest and title of such married person in and to any real estate thereby conveyed or otherwise transferred.

Code 1919, § 5215; 1940, p. 53; Code 1950, § 55-43; 1990, c. 831; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-208. How estate of a married person to pass at death.

When a married person, having title to any estate, dies intestate, such estate, or any part of such estate, shall pass according to the provisions of Chapter 2 (§ 64.2-200 et seq.) of Title 64.2, subject to his debts.

Code 1919, § 5138; Code 1950, § 55-46; 1990, c. 831; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-209. Equitable separate estates abolished.

The estate known as the equitable separate estate no longer exists and any language in any writing, whenever executed, that purports to convey real property to a person as an equitable separate estate has no legal or equitable significance after January 1, 1991, except as provided in § 64.2-301 or 64.2-308.2.

1992, cc. 617, 647, § 55-47.01; 2016, cc. 187, 269; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-210. Tangible personal property.

No presumption of ownership of tangible personal property shall arise by operation of law to prefer one spouse of a marriage over the other if such presumption is based solely on the sex of the spouse.

1977, c. 76, § 55-47.1; 2019, c. 712.