a common-law doctrine, originating in Medieval Ecclesiastical courts, whereby a woman's legal identity was considered to be merged with that of her husband; because she could not own property, enter into contracts, or receive credit as an individual, her husband was obligated for maintenance and support; in fact, this doctrine classifies women as chattel or property. All states have abrogated or repealed Coverture, thereby eliminating the legal basis for alimony.
The condition of a married woman as legally under the protection of her husband (until the Married Woman's Property Act of 1882, married women could not, by law, own property; before this they and their possessions were considered as possessions of the husband - fortunately we live in more enlightened times)
Coverture is the legal concept that a woman's legal rights were merged with those of her husband, part of the common law of England and the United States throughout most of the 1800s. The idea was described in William Blackstone's Commentaries on the Laws of England in the late 1700s.