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Statuto Veneto: Venice, Italy, 1242

The Grand Doge of Venice, Giacomo Tiepolo, enacted a new law, Statuto Veneto, which formalised the financial status of wives and widows, especially in regard to dowries.

The statute specified that men must be accountable to their wives for how they used their dowries, and that the capital must remain in the control of the wife, for her to spend as she wished. Widows were also permitted to keep their dowries. Unfaithful wives, on the other hand, had no legal recourse and must surrender any dowries to the wronged husband.

Children, whether they were under age or have reached their majority, were also provided for in the statute. An interesting clause in the new law was that in the event of a married couple entering the religious orders, their property was to be divided equally between them.

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