A Provisione Viri

A Provisione Viri
A Provisione Viri
Quick Summary of A Provisione Viri

A provisione viri, which means “by the provision of a man” in Latin, refers to a legal concept that grants a husband control over a woman’s rights and property. Under this concept, if a woman owned property before marriage, it would become her husband’s property. Additionally, her husband would be the rightful owner of any income she earned. For a woman to enter into a legal contract, she would require her husband’s permission or signature. This concept was prevalent in various societies throughout history, such as ancient Rome and mediaeval Europe. It was rooted in the belief that women could not manage their own affairs and required a man, typically their husband, to do so on their behalf. These examples demonstrate how a provisione viri could restrict a woman’s autonomy and control over her own property and finances. Ultimately, it served as a means for men to maintain power and control over women in legal and financial matters.

What is the dictionary definition of A Provisione Viri?
Dictionary Definition of A Provisione Viri

In Latin, “provisione viri” means “by the provision of a man.” This phrase describes a scenario in which a husband is accountable for making decisions or providing for something. For instance, if a husband is the sole earner in the household, he is responsible for supporting his wife and children. Legally, “provisione viri” can denote that the husband made a choice or took action on behalf of his family.

Full Definition Of A Provisione Viri

“Provisione Viri” historically refers to provisions or legal arrangements related to the support and maintenance of a husband. In mediaeval and early modern contexts, particularly in England, the law concerning the support and maintenance of husbands, and more broadly, the economic provisions within marriage, evolved significantly. This legal overview aims to comprehensively analyse such provisions’ historical and contemporary implications, examining their origins, development, and current standing within British law.

Historical Context

Mediaeval Origins

The concept of “A Provisione Viri” can be traced back to mediaeval England, where marriage’s legal and social constructs fundamentally differed from contemporary times. During this period, marriage was primarily an economic arrangement. The need to manage estates and guarantee financial stability for both parties frequently dictated the financial obligations of a husband and wife.

In mediaeval England, the husband’s duty to provide for his wife was well-established. However, the notion of provisions for the husband was less explicit, largely because patriarchal society assumed the husband would be the primary breadwinner. The legal doctrine of coverture, which states that a wife’s legal rights and obligations become those of her husband upon marriage, increases the husband’s economic power.

Early Modern Developments

As England transitioned into the early modern period, the legal framework surrounding marriage and economic provisions began to evolve. The concept of separate legal identities for husbands and wives started to gain traction, although coverture remained influential. During this time, provisions for husbands were still relatively rare but not entirely absent.

The rise of equity courts and the development of trust law allowed for more nuanced arrangements in marriage settlements. These settlements often included provisions that could, under certain circumstances, benefit the husband, particularly if the wife brought substantial wealth or property into the marriage. However, such arrangements were exceptions rather than the norm.

Legal Framework and Developments

Common Law Principles

Under common law, the primary responsibility for economic support within a marriage traditionally fell upon the husband. The legal doctrine of coverture, which dominated English common law until the late 19th century, meant that a married woman’s legal rights and obligations were absorbed by those of her husband. As a result, the husband’s duty to support his wife largely overshadowed the idea of “A Provisione Viri.”

Statutory Changes

The late 19th and early 20th centuries saw significant statutory changes that began to reshape the legal landscape of marriage and economic provisions. The Married Women’s Property Acts of 1870 and 1882 were pivotal in granting married women the right to own and control property in their own name. These Acts marked the beginning of a shift towards recognising the separate legal identities of spouses.

With the advent of these changes, the notion of economic provisions for husbands started to gain legal recognition. For instance, the Matrimonial Causes Act 1857, which established civil divorce in England, included provisions that could require a wife to provide maintenance for her husband in cases where he could not support himself due to incapacity or other reasons.

Modern Legal Context

In contemporary British law, various statutes and judicial precedents encapsulate the principles governing financial provisions within marriage and upon its dissolution. The Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 is the cornerstone of current legislation, outlining the court’s powers to make financial orders, including maintenance orders, upon divorce or judicial separation.

Under the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973, the court can order financial provision for either spouse. This includes the power to order periodic payments or lump sums for the benefit of a husband or wife. The income, earning capacity, property, and financial needs of both parties and their respective contributions to the family’s welfare all play a role in the court’s decision-making process.

Key Considerations in Financial Provision for Husbands

Needs and Resources

When determining financial provision for a husband, the court considers both spouses’ needs and resources. This includes evaluating the husband’s financial situation, earning capacity, and any health issues or disabilities that may affect his ability to support himself. The court also considers the standard of living enjoyed during the marriage and seeks to ensure that both parties can maintain a reasonable standard of living post-separation.

Contributions to the Marriage

The court recognises both financial and non-financial contributions to the marriage. While historically, financial provision often reflected the husband’s role as the primary breadwinner, modern jurisprudence acknowledges the value of non-financial contributions, such as homemaking and child-rearing. This recognition can influence the court’s decision to award maintenance to a husband, particularly in cases where he may have taken on a primary caregiving role.

Duration of the Marriage

The duration of the marriage is a significant factor in determining financial provision. Longer marriages typically result in more substantial financial orders, reflecting the greater economic interdependence developed over time. In contrast, shorter marriages may result in more limited financial provisions unless exceptional circumstances justify a different approach.

Case Law Examples

Case Study: McFarlane v. McFarlane (2006)

In McFarlane v. McFarlane [2006] UKHL 24, the House of Lords considered the principles of financial provision upon divorce. The case involved a high-earning husband and a wife who had given up her career to care for the children. The court awarded the wife substantial maintenance, reflecting her contributions to the marriage and her reduced earning capacity. While this case primarily addressed maintenance for a wife, it underscored the broader principle that financial provision should reflect both parties’ contributions and needs.

Case Study: Waggott v. Waggott (2018)

In Waggott v. Waggott [2018] EWCA Civ 727, the Court of Appeal addressed the issue of maintenance for a husband. The husband, who had significantly lower earnings than the wife, sought ongoing maintenance post-divorce. The court emphasised the principle of self-sufficiency, ruling that maintenance should be awarded to enable the recipient to achieve financial independence within a reasonable period. This case highlighted the evolving approach towards financial provision for husbands, stressing the importance of promoting self-sufficiency while recognising genuine needs.

Gender Neutrality in Modern Law

Modern British family law strives to be gender-neutral, recognising that either spouse may be entitled to financial provision based on the case’s specific circumstances. This approach reflects broader societal changes and the increasing recognition of gender equality. While historically, financial provision was often viewed through a gendered lens, contemporary law focuses on fairness and the equitable distribution of resources, regardless of gender.

The Equality Act 2010

The Equality Act 2010 further reinforces the principle of non-discrimination in financial provision cases. The Act mandates that individuals should not be treated unfairly based on gender, ensuring that men and women have equal access to legal remedies and protections. This legislative framework supports the notion that financial provision for husbands should be considered on an equal footing with that for wives, based on each party’s specific needs and contributions.

Challenges and Criticisms

Perceived Gender biases

Despite legal advancements, ongoing debates exist about perceived gender bias in financial provision cases. Some critics argue that courts may still exhibit a tendency to favour wives in maintenance orders, reflecting lingering stereotypes about gender roles. However, empirical studies suggest that the courts increasingly adopt a balanced approach, focusing on the merits of each case rather than adhering to traditional gender norms.

Self-Sufficiency and Fairness

Promoting self-sufficiency, as highlighted in cases like Waggott v. Waggott, has sparked discussions about fairness in financial provision. While encouraging financial independence is a laudable goal, there are concerns that it may disproportionately impact individuals with lower earning capacities, including many husbands. Ensuring that maintenance orders balance promoting self-sufficiency with addressing genuine financial needs remains a key challenge for the judiciary.


“A Provisione Viri” encapsulates the evolving legal landscape of financial provisions for husbands in British law. From its mediaeval origins, where economic provisions within marriage were largely gendered and patriarchal, to the modern era of gender-neutral legal principles, the concept has undergone significant transformation. The Matrimonial Causes Act of 1973 and other statutes that uphold fairness and equality are the foundation of modern British family law, which acknowledges the potential need for financial support for husbands in light of their contributions and needs within the marriage.

The societal changes and judicial interpretations that aim to balance fairness, self-sufficiency, and the equitable distribution of resources continue to influence the legal system’s evolution. As British society progresses towards greater gender equality, the legal principles governing financial provision for spouses will undoubtedly continue to adapt, ensuring that both husbands and wives receive fair and just treatment in the eyes of the law.

A Provisione Viri FAQ'S

A Provisione Viri is a Latin term that translates to “by the provision of a man.” It refers to a legal principle that grants certain rights or privileges to a man based on his status or position.

Under A Provisione Viri, men may be entitled to certain legal benefits, such as inheritance rights, property ownership, decision-making authority, and social status advantages.

No, A Provisione Viri is an outdated legal principle that is no longer recognised or enforced in most modern legal systems. It is considered discriminatory and inconsistent with the principles of gender equality.

In some rare cases, certain cultural or religious practices may still adhere to the principles of A Provisione Viri. However, these exceptions are limited and often subject to scrutiny under human rights laws.

No, A Provisione Viri specifically grants rights and privileges to men, excluding women from its benefits. This exclusion is one of the reasons why it is considered discriminatory and incompatible with modern legal principles.

Since A Provisione Viri is no longer recognised in most legal systems, it cannot be directly challenged in court. However, individuals who believe they have been discriminated against based on gender can seek legal remedies under other applicable laws.

Enforcing A Provisione Viri can perpetuate gender inequality, restrict women’s rights, and hinder social progress. It can also lead to legal disputes, social unrest, and violations of human rights.

Yes, various international human rights treaties and conventions, such as the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), explicitly prohibit gender-based discrimination, including principles like A Provisione Viri.

Modern legal systems promote gender equality and provide equal rights and opportunities to all individuals, regardless of their gender. These alternatives include laws that protect against discrimination, promote equal access to education, employment, and property rights.

Individuals can advocate for the elimination of A Provisione Viri by raising awareness about gender equality, supporting organisations working towards women’s rights, and engaging in discussions and initiatives that promote equal treatment under the law.

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This site contains general legal information but does not constitute professional legal advice for your particular situation. Persuing this glossary does not create an attorney-client or legal adviser relationship. If you have specific questions, please consult a qualified attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.

This glossary post was last updated: 12th June 2024.

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