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2 - Spousal Disputes, the Marital Property System, and the Law in Later Medieval Sweden

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 July 2013

Mia Korpiola
Affiliation:
University of Helsinki
Cordelia Beattie
Affiliation:
University of Edinburgh
Matthew Frank Stevens
Affiliation:
Swansea University
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Summary

Recent research has emphasized the nexus of separation customs and marital property systems in medieval Europe. Indeed, the practice of marital separation across the late-medieval Franco-Belgian region may have been influenced by its communal property system. Charles Donahue Jr has observed that ‘a system of marital community property, which existed all over the Franco-Belgian region, virtually requires that a separating couple obtain a public declaration that they have separated’, whereas the English ‘separate marital property system’ more markedly fostered informal ‘do-it-yourself’ separations. Donahue's observations have been corroborated by a recent article by Monique Vleeschouwers-Van Melkebeek, focusing on separation and the division of property in the late-medieval southern Low Countries. There, the ‘customary property system in the Franco-Belgian region spurred the couples on in their demand for a judicial separation’, in contrast to England. From the Franco-Belgian region, hundreds of preserved divisions of marital property can also be found in secular court records as a material consequence of judicial separations, granted by ecclesiastical courts.

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Publisher: Boydell & Brewer
Print publication year: 2013

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