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Does Michigan Have Dower Rights?

Michigan law is changing to abolish dower rights with Senate Bill 558. The right of dower assigned a 1/3 ownership interest to a married women to any property purchased by her husband. This right was exclusive to women. The laws regarding dower rights date back to 1787 per the case of May v. Rumney, 1 Mich. 1 (1847). This dower right was relevant in the past because a a married woman could not own her own real property. Dower rights helped prevent a married man from completely disinheriting his spouse. Therefore, all deeds listing a man have been required to list his marital status. The Judgment of Divorce and Judgment of Separate Maintenance will no longer require a dower provision based on PA 378 HB 5520 which amends MCL 552.101 Sec. 1.

Rebecca Tooman