The Lawful Path Journal


Vol. 3, #1

COVERTURE and the Courts

“Can a Husband Represent His Wife?”

by Gregory Allan

Copyright A.D. 2005, All Rights Reserved

This issue is inspired by a reader whose wife is having problems with a court.

He writes, in part:

“My wife is being sued civilly for some credit card debt. …the new Judge would

not allow me to stand next to my wife or speak at all, saying that I am not a

Party to the Action, so therefore (I) am not allowed beyond the gate separating

the audience from the parties… So my question is:”

“Isn’t it a maxim of law that a husband has the right to stand beside, and even

speak for, his wife in court?”

As luck would have it, I have some personal experience with this subject. Of all

the people I know in the law-reform/study movement, I am the only one I know of

who has successfully stood in place of his wife in a courtroom. I’ll tell you

how I did it.

A word of caution is in order for our women readers. As you peruse this report

you may be tempted to think I am anti-woman, or that I somehow believe we should

go back to the dark ages. This could not be further from the truth. The commonly

accepted roles for women have changed much over the past hundred years. In some

ways perhaps for the better; in others, perhaps not.

For the purpose of this report, what I believe doesn’t matter one fig. Like it

or not, what you believe won’t matter either. It is a simple fact that when a

class of people gain ground in one area, they nearly always lose ground in

another. This report illustrates some of the protections which women have lost,

and how those protections might be taken back, if the married couple so-chooses.

In my experience, and the combined experience of others, a simple statutory

“grant of powers of attorney” form does not work to allow a non-attorney husband

to represent his wife in court. The reasons should become clear as you read on.

The only method I know of which works, is presented for you here.


Before I delve deeper into this issue, I’ll list a few maxims which seem to

support my reader’s theory:

“A wife follows the domicile of her husband.” Trayner, Latin Legal Maxims and

Phrases, etc.

“Husband and wife are considered one person (as one flesh and blood) in law.”

Coke on Littleton, 112; Jenkins’ Eight Centuries of Reports, English Exchequer.

“A wife is not her own mistress, but is under the power of her husband.” Coke’s

Institutes, 5-108

“All things which are the wife’s are the husband’s.” Bracton, de Legibus et

Consuetudinibus Angliae; 2 Kent’s Commentaries on American Law.

“Although the property may be the wife’s, the husband is the keeper of it, since

he is the head of the wife.” Coke on Littleton, 112.


The principle my friend is thinking of, is called “coverture.” Here’s what

Black’s Law Dictionary (6th) says about it:

“Coverture. The condition or state of a married woman. Sometimes used

elliptically to describe the legal disability which formerly existed at common

law from a state of coverture whereby the wife could not own property free from

the husband’s claim or control. Such restrictions were removed by state Married

Woman’s Property Acts.”

Hmmm. This definition makes it appear that the common law is abolished, and

coverture is obsolete. It states that “restrictions were removed.” Does that

also mean that protections were dissolved?

I believe the answer is both yes, and no. Statutory government commonly grants

“license,” or special privilege, which supercedes the common law. Remember

though, that “license” is defined as “permission from competent authority to do

that which would otherwise be illegal, unlawful, a trespass, or a tort.” In

other words, government gives you permission to be a criminal.

1 Blackstone Commentaries (442) has this to say about coverture:

“By marriage, the husband and wife are one person in law, that is, the very

being or legal existence of the woman is suspended during the marriage, or at

least is incorporated and consolidated into that of the husband: under whose

wing, protection, and cover, she performs every thing; and is therefore called

in our law-french a ‘feme-covert,’ …and her condition during her marriage is

called her coverture.”

The common law placed restrictions upon women for their protection. A modern

woman who is married by virtue of a State marriage license is presumed to have

the benefit of these criminal statues which supercede common law. In other

words, in the absense of any private contract to the contrary, the modern woman

is stripped of all her commonlaw protections.

Covenants to the Rescue

Written contracts are a way for people to express their mutual understanding of

an agreement in a lasting way. This helps remind the participants, who might

have foggy memories over the years, of their obligations. It also is a way of

declaring the terms of that agreement to others, such as judges.

Most people these days are either content with the state’s definition of

marriage, or are not aware of any difference. But some couples want more from a

marriage than two years of rocky cohabitation, and a divorce followed by

eighteen years of state-ordered child support. This is why any married couple

who share beliefs and/or expectations which are greater than, or different than

the terms of marriage set forth in state statutes, should enter into a private

marriage contract.

The old common law principle of coverture was a recognition that the nuclear

family is a system of government separate from state or federal governments. The

various state statutes which set forth terms of (non private contract) marriage,

are purposely intended to undermine the strength and effectiveness of these

competing governments.

In the absence of a written contract, any judge will rightly assume the terms of

a marriage agreement to be limited to whatever may be set forth in state

statute. But if a written contract is correctly presented into evidence, a judge

may be obligated to allow it.

What is to stop a married couple from entering into a private marriage contract,

in which the wife places herself under her husband’s protection in coverture?

Most modern American women will reject the notion of making themselves

subservient to their husbands. They see it as taking a step backward;

surrendering hard-won legal rights. Do they take the time to realize that every

so-called “right” comes with an equal and opposite duty?

Under the old common law a husband could, and usually did, assume all

responsibility for any crimes committed by his wife. If a debt was to be paid,

even time served in prison, it was the husband who paid it. The wife stayed home

to mind the house and raise the children.

Modern marriage statutes (absent private contract) are trilateral (three-party

contracts). The state is the primary party, and the husband and wife each owe

their primary duty to the state. In effect, the couple doesn’t marry one

another. They each marry the state, which places them together in a constructive


We know that contracts which contain illegal terms can be declared void. But all

other contracts are binding. Article 1, Section 10 of the United States

Constitution states in part:

“No State shall… pass any… Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts…”

So the question arises, “Can the principles of coverture can be deemed to be

illegal?” I believe not, although an argument can be made for either case.

For example, many states have a Dower Interest law, which insures that a wife

owns a certain undivided percentage of all her husband’s property. The terms of

this law varies from state to state, but in most cases the wife is deemed to

retain her dower interest, even if she explicitly deeds or releases that

interest to her husband. It’s hers, and she can’t give it up. The only way she

can divest herself of the property is to join with her husband in a deed granted

to a third party.

However, this example calls the marriage statutes themselves into play, and

pre-supposes the absence of a private marriage contract containing terms to the

contrary. In contrast, my position (that the husband can and should be able to

buy and sell property without his wife’s signature) is supported by the

following maxim:

“Every one may renounce or relinquish a right introduced for his own benefit.”

Coke on Magna Charta and Old Acts, 183; Wingate’s Maxims of Law, p. 483; The

People v. Van Rensselaer, 9 N.Y. 291, 333.

As to the sources of case law supporting each argument, atheists and secular

humanists, have no higher authority than government to look to. But Christians

recognize a higher authority. Fortunately, such higher authority is even

recognized by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The following cite is paraphrased from scribblings I’ve carried around in my

dayplanner for years, but should be helpful to anyone with reason to look for

the actual cite:

“Religious Freedom: U.S. vs. Seeger 380 U.S. 163

5 Indicia for mandatory consideration; all five must be true:

    Religious Conscience – Belief in God

    Beliefs are truly and sincerely held

    Beliefs make up individual identity

    Growing out of religious training and belief

    Based upon a duty: “I have no choice.”

Cannot be:





    Personal Moral Code”

Whenever I construct paperwork intended for the courts, I always try to keep the

above priciples in mind.

Scriptural Rights and Duties

What does the Bible say about the proper relationship between husband and wife?

    Husband and wife are regarded as one flesh. Gen. 2:23-24; Matt. 19:5; Mark

10:8; Eph. 5:31.

    Marriage bonds are of God, and not to be put asunder by any man. Matt. 19:6;

mark 10:9.

    Man is not independent of woman, nor is woman independent of man. 1 Cor.

7:4; 1 Cor. 11:11.

    Husbands are to have authority over their wives. Gen. 3:16; 1 Cor. 11:3,

7-9; Eph. 5:23.

    Husband to provide for the family. 1 Tim. 5:8.

    Wives are to obey their husband. 1 Cor. 14:34; Titus 2:5.

    Wives to be in subjection to their husbands. Gen. 3:16; Eph. 5:22, 24; Col.

3:18; 1 Pet. 3:1, 5-6.

    Wife not to usurp authority over the man. 1 Tim. 2:12; Titus 2:5.

    The wife is not to raise questions in the church but to ask through her

husband. 1 Cor. 14:34

(Compilation taken from A Handbook of Bible Law, by Charles A. Weisman)

My Own Experience in Court

In 1997, my wife was served with a summons to appear in court on a civil matter.

As we have a private marriage contract which places her under my coverture, it

was my duty to respond on her behalf. Our Contract is a private matter between

us, and we have no wish to disclose the terms of the full contract to any

outside parties. However, it is in our mutual best-interest to disclose certain

terms and conditions to others, from time to time.

So I drafted a declaration in affidavit form, to be signed by my wife, in which

she gave notice of the existence of our private marriage contact, and quoted the

terms which placed her under my coverture. Armed with this document, my Bible,

and the other items which I would need to participate in the civil action, I

walked into court in her stead. That’s right, I appeared, and she did not.

When the case was called, I stood up and walked across the bar. I should mention

here, that I had already met this judge on several occasions, and he knew me

immediately upon sight. So the following paraphrased conversation should be

instructive, if you’re paying close attention.

Judge:  “Who are you?”

Me:  “I am here with regard to this matter.”

Judge:  “Are you a party to this matter?”

Me:  “Yes, sir.”

Judge:  “What is your name?”

Me:  “For purposes of this hearing, my name is (my wife’s name).”

I have to break here long enough to say that the judge’s expression was

priceless. But even funnier, was the expression on the face of the court

reporter. Court reporters, in my experience, never show any emotion, or even

look up from their work to view the proceedings. This one stopped typing, and

turned completely toward me with an expression so odd I can’t even describe it.

The judge recovered his composure after a few seconds, and continued:

Judge:  “Do you have any identification?”

Me:  “Yes, sir.” (Whereupon I held up the declaration I’d previously prepared.)

Judge:  “Hand it to the bailiff please.” (The bailiff gave the declaration to

the judge, and he studied it for several minutes.)

Judge:  “I cannot allow you to represent your wife.”

Me:  “Sir, it is not my intention to represent my wife.”

Judge:  “Then why are you here?”

Me:  “For purposes of this hearing, I am my wife.”

Judge:  (after a long pause) “Take a seat over there (points to the table where

my wife would have been directed to sit). I’ll hear from the other party’s

attorney first, and then you’ll be allowed to speak.”

The opposing attorney had her say (interesting, in this case, that the attorney

was a woman).

Judge:  (to me) “Do you have anything to say?”

Me:  “Yes, sir.”  I proceeded to present my case, uninterrupted. When I was

finished, the judge said:

Judge:  “I have exercised my discretion to allow you to speak today, although I

cannot allow you to represent your wife. In the interest of equity, my ruling is

as follows…”

The judge proceeded to order everything I had asked for, as though my wife had

done the asking. His comment was made to save face, and to obscure from

witnesses the fact that I had succeeded in my objective. He didn’t actually lie,

in that he did not allow me to represent my wife. He simply accepted, based on

the evidence before him, that I was my wife.

It should be noted that a warrant was never issued against her for failure to

appear, as would certainly have been the case if “she” had not appeared.

I’ve decided to make a declaration, similar to the one mentioned here, available

for sale on our website. It contains all the substance of the one I used

successfully as described above, but has been updated with the benefit of my

study and experience over subsequent years. The package also includes a second

document, which is necessary to make the first one “appear” in court, pursuant

to rules of evidence. You can find it at this link:


That’s all for now. May God bless and keep you on the lawful path.



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About Paul John Hansen

Paul John Hansen -Foremost I love the Lord, His written Word, and the Elect Family of God. -My income is primarily derived from rental properties, legal counsel fees, selling PowerPoint presentations. -I am a serious student of territorial specific law, and constitutional limitations of the US and STATE Governments. -I have been in court over 250 times. -I have received numerous death threats that appear as to come from NEBRASKA STATE agents. -I have been arrested an estimated 8 times. Always bogus false warrants, misdemeanor charges. (Mostly Municipal Housing Codes, or related acts.) -I file no Federal Income Taxes (1040 Form) since the year 2001. (No filings in any form.) -I pay no State income taxes. -I do not pay STATE sales tax on major purchases. -I pay no COUNTY property taxes with out a judicial challenge. ( I believe I have discovered a filing for record process that takes my land off the tax roles. ) -I currently use no State drivers license, carry no vehicle liability insurance, do not register my automobiles. -I do not register to vote for any representatives. -I am a 'free inhabitant' pursuant to Article 4 of The Articles of Confederation. (Not a US citizen.) -I am subject to the Church jurisdiction, and a strong advocate of full ecclesiastical independence from the United States jurisdiction. -I believe in full support of the perpetual Union as found in the Articles of Confederation. -I believe that a free inhabitant has the lawful standing to choose to live independent of the constitutional corporate US governments, and its statutory courts in the vast majority of his daily life, and to be forced to do otherwise is slavery. -I believe that most all US written law is constitutional, but most all of that same law is misapplied upon jurisdictions where it has no force and effect of law and the bar association has perfected a system of keeping the people from knowing its true application. Order my 5$ presentation 'Free Inhabitant One A', for the truth in limited jurisdiction of all US written law.
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2 Responses to A HUSBAND CAN REPRESENT HIS WIFE in court

  1. Ray Southwell says:

    Mr. Hansen,
    My Wife is the defendant of a civil suit with Citibank. We have filed the necessary documents with the court. We both signed the documents and informed the judge we are one and the same. The judge has instructed us to file documents for “third party” rule.
    As I read the rule it appears a process to divide us. We rejected the idea. Friends have encouraged us to file a “power of attorney.” We do not believe it is what we believe our relationship is.
    I plan to speak as one body united through our 40 year marriage. I plan to use biblical reference and the logic of the body working together as a whole. Legs and arms different jobs working for the whole. I also have seen some case law regarding husband obligations on debt.
    Looking for your thoughts
    Ray Southwell-Alaska

    • A Plaintiff or Defendant has right to counsel, which is much different from an attorney, put in notice/motion that you will be counsel for your wife, and not “stand by” counsel, just “counsel”. Simply put one has a right to a defense, counsel is an intricate part of your defense, you can not nor will you pay for any other attorney that refuses to put your interest before the interest of the court.

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