Law School Case Brief
Arnold v. Leonard - 114 Tex. 535, 273 S.W. 799 (1925)
Under the Act of 1840 all property other than that specifically defined as separate property of the wife was intended to belong to the separate estate of the husband or to become common property of the husband and wife. Such is the express provision of the Tex. Const. art. VII, § 19 (1845) was essentially an enlargement of the wife's separate estate. Under the Act of 1840 all the wife's right to personal property passed to the husband, with the solitary exception of slaves and their increase. By the constitutional provision, all property, both real and personal, owned or claimed by the wife before marriage and that acquired by the wife afterwards by gift, devise, or descent, became her separate property. Whatever the language of Tex. Const. art. VII, § 19 (1845) meant in the Constitution of 1845, that language has the same signification in Tex. Const. art. XVI (1876).
A wife brought an action, joined pro forma by her husband, for an injunction to restrain the administrator from seizing or attempting to subject certain rents and revenues from a number of pieces of real estate, all being the separate estate of the wife, to the payment of a judgment owned and held by the administrator against the husband. The administrator answered with a special exception that the rents and revenues of the separate estate of the wife were community property and subject to the debts of the husband. The trial court overruled the special exception and granted the injunction. The administrator appealed.
Were the rents and revenue of the separate estate of the wife considered community property that was subject to the debts of the husband?
The court held that the rents and revenues of the wife's separate lands were free from liability to forced sale of the payment of debts contracted by the husband. The court held that so much of the Act of 1917 and of the Act of 1921 (Acts) as undertook to declare the rents and revenues of the wife's separate realty to be her separate estate violated Tex. Const. art. XVI, § 15 and of Tex. Const. art. III, § 35. The court also held that the provisions of the Acts, and of the prior Act of 1913, were valid, which rendered the rents and revenues of the wife's separate lands free from liability to forced sale for the payment of debts contracted by the husband.
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