Bein v. Heath - 47 U.S. 228 (1848)
U.S. Supreme Court
Bein v. Heath, 47 U.S. 6 How. 228 228 (1848)
Bein v. Heath
47 U.S. (6 How.) 228
The Civil Code of Louisiana (article 2412) enacts that
"The wife, whether separated in property by contract or by judgment or not separated, cannot bind herself for her husband nor conjointly with him for debts contracted by him before or during the marriage."
Where a wife mortgaged her property to raise money and the question did not turn upon her doing so as the surety of her husband, it was not necessary for the lender to prove that the proceeds of the loan inured to her separate use.
The fact of the application of the money may be proved to show the character of the transaction with a view of establishing collusion or fraud.
The decisions of the state courts of Louisiana upon this subject examined.
Where a wife mortgaged her property and then sought relief in chancery upon the ground that the contract was void in consequence of her disability to contract, and it was shown that the lender acted in good faith, proceeded cautiously under legal advice, under assurances that the loan was for the exclusive use of the wife, to whom the money was actually paid, the interest upon the loan paid for several years, the mortgaged property insured by her, and the policy assigned to the mortgages, a bill to relieve her from the contract cannot receive the sanction of a court of equity.
But it is no objection to such a bill as a rule of pleading that the husband is made a party to it with the wife. He acts only as her prochein ami.
The facts are sufficiently set forth in the opinion of the Court.