Table of Contents


Art. 16. By dowry are meant the effects which the wife brings to the husband to support the expenses of marriage.

Art. 17. Every thing which the wife settles upon herself or which is given her by the marriage contract, is included in the dowry, unless there be a contrary stipulation.

Art. 18. The settlement of the dowry may include all the present and future effects of the wife, or her present effects only, or a part of her present and future effects, or even an individual object.
The constitution in general terms of all the effects of the wife does not include her future effects.

Art. 19. Dowry cannot be settled, nor can it even be increased during the marriage.

Art. 20. Dowry can be settled either by the wife herself or by her father or mother or other ascendants, or by her other relations, and even by strangers.

Art. 21. If the father or mother settle jointly a dowry, without distinguishing the part of each, it shall be supposed constituted by equal portion.
If the dowry be settled by the father alone for paternal and maternal rights, the mother, although present to the contract, shall not be obliged, and the father alone shall remain answerable for the whole of the dowry.

Art. 22. If the surviving either father or mother, settles a dowry for paternal and maternal effects, without specifying the portions, the dowry shall be first taken out of the rights of the future husband or wife, out of the estate of the deceased husband or wife, and the rest out of the estate of the person who settled the dowry.

Art. 23. Although the daughter who has received a dowry from her father and mother, may have effects belonging to her which they enjoy, the dowry shall be taken out of the estate of the person settling the dowry, unless there be a contrary stipulation.

Art. 24. Those who settle a dowry are bound to the warranty of the things thus settled.

Art. 25. The interests of the dowry begin of right, from the day of the marriage, against those who have promised the same, although there may be time given for the payment, unless there be a contrary stipulation.

Art. 26. The cause of the dowry is perpetual, that is the dowry is given to the husband for him to enjoy the same, as long as the marriage shall last.

Art. 27. The action which the husband has to recover the payment of the dowry of those who have settled the same, lasts thirty years as well as all other personal actions.

Art. 28. The income or proceeds of the dowry belong to the husband, and are intended to help him support the charges of the matrimony, such as the maintenance of the husband and wife, that of their children, and other expences which the husband deems proper; and this is the reason why the interests of the dowry are due from the day of marriage, unless there be a contrary stipulation as is prescribed in the 25th article above.

Art. 29. The husband alone has the administration of the dowry and his wife cannot deprive him of it; he may act alone in a court of justice for the preservation or recovery of the dowry against such as either owe or detain the same, but this does not prevent the wife from remaining the proprietor of the effects which she brought as her dowry.

Art. 30. The wife may nevertheless appear in a court of justice, for her dotal effects, either when she is separated of property from her husband, or when she is by him authorised to that effect, or on his refusal when she is authorised by the judge.

Art. 31. It may likewise be stipulated by the marriage contract, that the wife shall receive annually, upon her own acquittances, a part of her revenue for her maintenance and personal wants.

Art. 32. The husband is not bound to give security upon his receiving the dowry, unless he has been bound to do so by the marriage contract.

Art. 33. If the dowry or part of the dowry should consist in moveable effects valued by the marriage contract, without declaring that the estimated value of the same, does not constitute a sale, the husband becomes the proprietor of said moveable effects and owes nothing but the estimated value of the same.

Art. 34. The estimated value of immoveables or of slaves settled as a dowry, does not transfer the property of the same to the husband, unless there be an express declaration to that effect.

Art. 35. An immoveable bought with the dotal funds, is not a dotal object, if the condition of their laying out in purchases of estates, has not been stipulated by the marriage contract. It is the same with respect to the immoveable given in payment of a dowry settled in money.

Art. 36. Immoveables settled as a dowry, can be sold or mortgaged during the marriage, neither by the husband, nor by the wife, nor by both together, except as is herein after excepted.

Art. 37. The wife may with the authorisation of her husband, or on his refusal, with the authorisation of the judge, give her dotal effects for the establishment of the children she may have by a former marriage: but if she be authorised only by the judge, she is bound to reserve the enjoyment to her husband.

Art. 38. She may likewise with the authorisation of her husband, give her dotal effects for the establishment of their common children.

Art. 39. Immoveables settled as a dowry may be sold, when the sale of the same has been allowed by the marriage contract.

Art. 40. Such immoveable may be likewise sold with the authorisation of the judge, at public auction, after three advertisements or publications, in the usual places or in the newspapers, for the purpose of liberating from jail either husband or wife; of supplying the family with food in the cases provided for under the title of father and child; of paying the debts of the wife, or of those who settled the dowry, when said debts are of a certain date prior to the marriage contract; or for the purpose of making heavy repairs indispensably necessary for the preservation of the immoveables settled as a dowry; and in fine when said immoveable is held undivided with a third person and the same is ascertained not susceptible of being divided.
In all such cases what remains unimployed out of the proceeds of said sale, above the necessities which have been the occasion of the sale, shall remain dotal effects, and shall be laid out as such in purchase of estate to the benefit of the wife.

Art. 41. If, except as above excepted, the wife or husband or both jointly sell the dotal estate, the wife or her heirs may cause said sale to be set aside, after the dissolution of the marriage and no prescription shall run during the marriage in bar of this right.
The wife shall have the same right after a separation of property.
The husband himself may cause to be annulled the sale during the marriage, but in that case, he remains however bound for the damages and losses of the purchaser, if he has not declared in the deed of sale, that the estate thus sold was a dowry estate.

Art. 42. Immoveables which are a part of the dowry, and which are not declared liable to be sold by the marriage contract, are imprescriptible during the marriage, unless the prescription began before. They become prescriptible after the separation of the goods and chattels, whatever be the time at which the prescription began.

Art. 43. With respect to all the effects of the dowry, the husband is subject to all the obligations of the usufructuary. He is answerable for all prescriptions incurred and deteriorations which have happened by his neglect.

Art. 44. If the dowry be likely to be lost, the wife may sue for a separation of goods and chattels, as will be explained hereafter.

Art. 45. If the dowry consists of immoveables or slaves; or if it consists of moveables not valued by the marriage contract, or valued with a declaration that said valuation is not intended to divest the wife of her property in the same, the busband or his heirs may be compelled to restore the same without delay, after the dissolution of the marriage.

Art. 46. Should the dowry consist of a sum of money, or of moveables valued by the marriage contract, without a declaration that the estimated value is not intended to convey the property of the same to the husband, the restitution of the same cannot be enforced until one year after the dissolution.

Art. 47. If any of the immoveables and slaves whose property is vested in the wife, have perished or grown worse by use and without any neglect on the part of the husband, he shall be bound to restore only such as may remain and in the situation in which they are; nevertheless the wife may in all cases take back her linen, cloathing and jewels in her actual use, under the obligation of accounting for their value, especially when said linen, cloathes and jewels have been in the first instance settled with estimation.

Art. 48. If the dowry includes bonds and credits which could not be recovered, whether owing to the insolvency of the debtors or otherwise, but not owing to the fault or neglect of the husband, he shall not be answerable for the consequences and shall be bound only to restore the deeds or vouchers upon which the debt is grounded.

Art. [4]59. If a dowry consists of usufruct, the husband or his heirs, at the time of the dissolution of the marriage, are bound only to return the right of the usufruct, and not the profits which accrued during the marriage.

Art. 50. If the dowry consists in whole or in part of herds or flocks not valued in the marriage contract, or valued with a declaration that the said estimated value does not deprive the wife of her property in the same, the husband shall be bound only to deliver such proportion of the increased or young proceeding from said flocks and herds during the marriage as shall be necessary to complete the whole number of head of cattle that he originally received.
But with respect to slaves constituted as a dowry and not estimated in such a manner as to operate their sale, the husband is not bound to give others in the room of those who may have or who died, to supply the deficiencies which may have happened among them during the marriage, without any fault of his he is bound only to deliver such as shall remain, in the state in which they may be, but he must include in this delivery, such living children as may have been born from said slaves.

Art. 51. If the marriage has lasted ten years since the time at which the payment of the dowry became due, the wife or her heirs may claim the same from the husband after the dissolution of marriage, without being bound to prove that the husband has received it, unless the husband should satisfactorily prove that he has uselessly done everything in his power to obtain the payment of the same.
This responsibility of the husband does not hold when the wife herself has promised the dowry, for in such a case, neither she or her heirs could claim what she had not paid.

Art. 52. If the marriage be dissolved by the death of the wife, the interests and profits of the dowry to be returned, run of right to the benefit of her heirs from the day of the dissolution.
If it be by the death of her husband, the wife has her choice either to claim the interest of her dowry during the year of mourning, or to claim a sustenance to be taken out of the succession of her husband.— But in both cases, she has a right during that year to be supplied with habitation and mourning dresses out of the succession, which said charges shall not be deducted out of the interests due to her.

Art. 53. The wife has a tacit mortgage on the estate of her husband, to wit:
1stly. For the restitution of her dowry as well as for the replacing of her dotal effects which she brought at the time of her marriage, and which were alienated by her husband, and this from the time of the celebration of the said marriage.
2ndly. For the restitution or the replacing of the dotal effects which she acquired during the marriage, either by succession or donation, from the day when such succession devolved to her or such donation began to have its effect.
3rdly. For the indemnification of the debts to which she bound herself jointly with her husband, as well as for the replacing of her hereditary effects alienated, from the day when such obligation or sale was executed.
Therefore the privilege which was allowed to wives by the ancient laws of this country, with respect to their dowry, and which caused them to be prefered to the creditors having a mortgage even anterior to their marriage, is hereby repealed for all and every marriage which shall be contracted after the promulgation of this code.

Art. 54. If the husband was already insolvent, and had neither art nor trade, when the father settled a dowry on his daughter, she shall be bound to return to the succession of her father, only the action she has against the succession of the husband, to be reimbursed for the same.
But if the husband has become insolvent only since the marriage, or if he exercised a trade or profession which was to him instead of an estate, the loss of the dowry falls solely upon the wife.

Art. 55. When the wife has not brought any dowry, or when what she has brought as a dowry is but trifling with respect to the condition of the [h]busband, if either the husband or wife die rich, leaving the survivor in necessitous circumstances, the latter has a right to take out of the succession of the deceased what is call the martial portion; that is the fourth of said succession in full property, if there be no children, and the same portion as a usufruct only when there are but three or a smaller number of children; and if there be more than three children, the surviving whether husband or wife, shall receive only a child’s share in usufruct, and he is bound to include in this portion what has been left to him as a legacy by the husband or wife who died first.

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