coverture n[Anglo-French, literally, shelter, covering, from Old French, from covert , past participle of covrir to cover]
: the inclusion of a woman in the legal person of her husband upon marriage under common law NOTE: Because of coverture, married women formerly did not have the legal capacity to hold their own property or contract on their own behalf. These disabilities have been removed for the most part by statute.
Source: Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Law ©1996. Merriam-Webster, Incorporated. Published under license with Merriam-Webster, Incorporated.