Duhaime's Law Dictionary

Feme Sole Definition:

French: an unmarried woman.

Related Terms: Feme Covert

"A feme sole usually refers to an unmarried woman, a widow, a divorced woman or a woman who has been judicial;y separated from her husband. However, the term is also used with respect to a married woman who holds property as her sole and separate equitable estate."1

These were the words used by jurist Maria Dill in her commentary on a Virginia case on point.

In Ross v Collins, Justice Russell wrote:

"The defendant is a spinster. She is described in all the documents in the title as otherwise-as a feme sole. That is quite a wrong way in which to describe a female party who is a spinster. It is appropriate to one who has been married, is no longer married, but is not a widow."


  • Dill, Maria, Constitutionality of the Feme Sole Estate and the Virginia Supreme Court's Creation of an Homme Sole Estate in Jacobs v. Meade, 19 U. Rich. L. Rev. 163 (1984-1985; NOTE 1)
  • Ross v Collins, [1964] 1 All ER 861

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