Dowry Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Dowry, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Dowry?

n. Money and personal property that a bride brings to a marriage which becomes his property. Dowry sill exists in the Civil Code of Louisiana.

History and Meaning of Dowry

Dowry is a long-standing tradition in many cultures where the family of the bride provides money, property, or other gifts to the groom's family at the time of marriage. Originally, it was seen as a form of protection for the bride in case of her husband's death or abandonment. However, over time, it has become a more commercial transaction where the value of the dowry is often negotiated between the two families.

Examples of Dowry

  1. In India, dowry is still prevalent and often seen as a burden on the bride's family. It has been banned by law, but it still exists in many parts of the country.
  2. In some African cultures, dowry includes cattle or other livestock.
  3. In medieval Europe, dowry was often land or property that would be granted to the bride upon her marriage to provide her with financial stability.
  4. In the United States, dowry is not common, but similar traditions like the bride's parents paying for the wedding or giving a gift to the couple are still prevalent.
  5. In some cases, dowry can lead to disputes and even violence if the groom's family is not satisfied with the amount given.

Legal Terms Similar to Dowry

  1. Bride price: the opposite of dowry, where the groom provides money or gifts to the bride's family.
  2. Alimony: a court-ordered payment made by one spouse to the other after a divorce.
  3. Community property: a legal principle where property and earnings acquired during a marriage are considered equally owned by both spouses.