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The Dower Right is a historic concept that still exists today in Alberta. They are a married person’s right to occupy the dwelling place or use household contents in that place that are owned in the name of their spouse. Under the Dower Act, neither spouse may sell or mortgage the home without the other’s written consent.

These rights do not exist before you marry if you are common-law, or when you are divorced. You have Dower rights if you are presently separated from your spouse but not yet divorced.

The original purpose of the Dower Right, first established by English Law during confederation in Canada, was to protect a wife and children with a place to live if their husband should pass away. Dower rights have since been expanded to protect both husband and wife, but have been done away with in many provinces.

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