Massachusetts, sometimes referred to as the “Old Colony State”, has a rich history that stretches back to the early days of America. With such a storied past, it is no surprise that there are some truly quirky and unusual family laws still technically in effect. While these laws are seldom enforced, they paint a fascinating picture of the past. Let’s put on our historical spectacles and take a journey through the annals of Massachusetts family law.
1. Dueling with a Family Member? Make It Quick!
One of the more bizarre laws states that duels with a family member are permissible, but only on the town common and before 8:00 p.m. While dueling has long been considered an outdated and dangerous way to settle disputes, it seems that someone thought it was acceptable as long as it didn’t disrupt bedtime!
2. Don’t Badmouth Your Spouse’s Cooking
There's an antiquated law in Massachusetts that makes it illegal for a man to criticize his spouse's cooking. While a law protecting feelings in the kitchen may seem silly today, one wonders what kind of culinary catastrophes led to this law being created.
3. The Great Pie Prohibition
Hold on to your pie tins! At one time, it was illegal to eat pie on Sundays in Massachusetts. The Puritanical leaders considered this delectable treat too indulgent for the Sabbath. Thankfully, pies are no longer banished on Sundays, so feel free to enjoy your apple or pumpkin variety any day of the week.
4. Snoring Husbands, Beware!
Another quirky law on the books in Massachusetts is one that makes it illegal for a husband to snore unless all the windows in the home are closed and securely locked. This law may have been born out of an attempt to prevent high-volume snorers from disrupting the peaceful quiet of their neighborhoods.
5. The Mustache Dilemma
Growing a mustache is a popular trend today, but back in the day, there was a law in Massachusetts that prohibited men with mustaches from kissing women in public. The origins of this law are murky, but one can’t help but wonder about the circumstances that led to this being a legal concern!
6. When Love Knows No Boundaries
In Massachusetts, it was once considered illegal to marry someone if you both had the same surname—unless you could prove you were not related. This law may have been intended to prevent incestuous relationships, but surely caused some headaches for those with common last names like Smith or Johnson.
7. It’s All About the P’s and Q’s
An old statute states that children must be educated in good behavior and manners. While this may seem like common sense, it's intriguing to think that this was once deemed significant enough to be enshrined in law.
Ask a Massachusetts Family Lawyer
Though these quirky family laws in Massachusetts are remnants of a bygone era and are no longer enforced, they give us a delightful glimpse into the cultural norms and values of the past. They also serve as a reminder of how society has evolved and how our legal system adapts over time.
At Miller Law Group, P.C., we are committed to helping our clients navigate family law matters, from divorce to custody and everything in between. Although we have yet to come across a case involving a snoring husband or late-night duel between family members, our Massachusetts family law attorneys understand that every case is unique and must be approached with the determination and legal acumen it takes to win. To learn more about our firm and how we can help you, call (508) 502-7002 or contact us online.