Legal-Ease: Married, with property

Married people may be surprised to find out that when selling property their spouses must sign the deeds, even if the spouse’s name was never on the property. This is required as part of “dower” law. Dower is a collection of rights possessed by a married person.

Dower’s purpose is sometimes explained through two sexist, historical situations. First, historically women couldn’t own property, so when a couple married, all property belonged to the husband. Second, in the past some men didn’t want their wives to inherit property from them. Today, dower applies to all married people in Ohio.