Before women were allowed to own property in their own right or have equal rights to property owned by their husband, a deed or tax record often referred to property as being owned by the husband "et ux." Et ux is an abbreviation for the Latin word et uxor, which literally translated means "and wife." Although the wife may technically have been included on the deed, she was considered so insignificant that a proper name was not required.
Although not all countries throughout the world recognize a woman's right to own property, the United States certainly does. The modern day equivalent of et ux is property held as tenants by the entirety or joint tenants. A tenancy by the entirety is the closest match to the use of et ux, as it requires the two people who will hold title to the property to be married. Of course, a tenancy by the entirety is simply a legal status. The actual deed will have the proper names of both the husband and wife.
A joint tenancy is similar to a tenancy by the entirety, although the two people who will hold title to the property are not required to be married. This may be considered the final evolution from the Latin et ux, as a woman may hold title to a property along with a man without even being married to him. Both a tenancy by the entirety and a joint tenancy allow for rights of survivorship, meaning that, upon the death of one owner, the other owner will automatically inherit the decedent's share of the property.
Of course, a woman may also hold title to a property alone, without a man included on the title. Within the United States, women have absolute equal rights to own, sell, gift, or devise property. Many states are also community property states, meaning that a woman is entitled to half of the marital property when the couple divorces regardless of who earned the money to buy the property or how the property was acquired.
Many words used for legal descriptions or phrases come from Latin, as many of the concepts and ideas for modern day legal systems date back to ancient Rome. Other examples of common words still used in legal terminology include mens rea — guilty mind, corpus delecti — body of crime, and pro bono — for the public good. Although the Latin terms and phrases are still used today in many legal systems, much has changed in the law since they were first used.
Frequently Asked Questions
What exactly does it mean when someone says "Et Ux"?
The acronym "Et Ux" comes from the Latin phrase "et uxor," which can be translated as "and wife." It is common practice to use it in legal papers, where it serves the purpose of indicating that both partners are participating in the transaction or agreement.
Where does the phrase "Et Ux" appear, exactly?
The phrase "et ux" appears quite frequently in official documents such as wills, contracts, and deeds. It is a term that is used to imply that both spouses are participants to the agreement or transaction, and that each of their approvals is necessary for the agreement to be considered legitimate.
What sets "Et Ux" apart from its counterpart, "Et Vir"?
Another typical Latin term seen in legal documents, "et vir" translates to "and husband." It is a phrase from the Latin language. The primary distinction between "Et Ux" and "Et Vir" is that "Et Ux" refers to both partners in a marriage, but "Et Vir" solely refers to the husband in a marriage.
Is the phrase "et ux" still utilized in contemporary legal documents?
Although the usage of Latin phrases in legal papers has become less common in recent years, the phrase "Et Ux" is still occasionally found in contemporary legal documents. To refer to both parties, however, many legal professionals today prefer to use language that is more contemporary and inclusive, such as "spouses" or "married couple."
Is the phrase "et ux" ever used in situations that are not legal?
Even while "Et Ux" is most commonly found in legal papers, it is acceptable to use it in other situations when the married status of both parties is important, such as on invitations or in genealogy records. Yet, in the vast majority of other settings, it would be preferable to use contemporary terminology that is inclusive when referring to both partners in a marriage.