The common law, in recognition of the fact that one spouse is entitled to some economic security in the property of the other spouse, evolved the interests known as dower and curtesy. These interests, of course, apply only with respect to land. The husband enjoyed an additional economic advantage that came from the management and control of his wife's property. This latter advantage has disappeared with the advent of Married Women's Property Acts that confer upon married women the right to manage their own estates. Statutes have also expanded on the concept of dower and curtesy by providing for a statutory share that one spouse may claim in the estate of a deceased spouse. But the common law fails to recognize the basic fact that both spouses contribute to acquisitions made during marriage and that both should have a present interest in such acquisitions. Such is the underlying theory of the community property system of concurrent ownership between husband and wife. This concept is of Germanic origin. It was adopted in France and Spain and transplanted to their colonies in the new world. In a majority of the community property states the system owes its origin to constitutional or legislative enactments. This is true in Michigan, where the Community Property Act was adopted by legislative act, effective as of July 1, 1947.
William E. Burby,
SOME GENERAL ASPECTS OF MICHIGAN COMMUNITY PROPERTY LAW,
Mich. L. Rev.
Available at: https://repository.law.umich.edu/mlr/vol46/iss3/2