Duhaime's Law Dictionary

Dum Casta Definition:

Latin: for so long as she remains chaste.

Related Terms: Dum Sola, Dum Vidua, Dum Sola et Casta Vixerit, Chaste

Separation agreements years ago used to contain dum casta clauses which said that if the women were to start another relationship, she forfeited her entitlement to maintenance.

In a 1981 Canadian case, Sutton v Sutton, Justice Legg of the Supreme Court of British Columbia wrote, at ¶9-13:

"[A] dum casta provision is a clause often incorporated in separation agreements, providing that an allowance should be payable only so long as the wife lives chaste.

"Similar clauses are dum sola (so long as single), dum sola et casta (so long as single and chaste), and dum vidua (so long as a widow).

"The history of the use of the dum casta clause shows that it was often inserted in an order of a court, ordering maintenance to be paid by a husband to a wife notwithstanding that the court had found that the wife was guilty of adultery .... The dum casta clause was designed to prevent the wife who had committed adultery from leading an unchaste life."

In Squire v Squire, Justice Jeune wrote, in words which in modern times, to say the least, would not be considered politically correct:

"The wife should know and should be made to feel that her livelihood depends on her leading a chaste life in the future. In cases where the wife has not been proved to have committed adultery I should be slow to insert the dum casta clause. But, where the wife is proved guilty of adultery, I am of opinion that the strongest pressure ought to be put upon her not to lapse again into sin."


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