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Two Importance Factors In Divorce: Domicile And Residence

In order to obtain divorce, domicile and residence are important factors. One party must be resident and domiciled in the state where the divorce is sought. In order for the court to obtain jurisdiction, the requirements are “actual residence” and legal domicile. Jurisdiction is determined at the time the divorce petition is filed.

Even though domicile and residence are related, they are different concepts. Domicile is the residence where you have your permanent home or principal establishment and to where, whenever you are absent, you intend to return. Each person may have one and only one domicile at a time, but may have more than one residence.

To determine a person’s domicile, courts look to that person’s physical presence in the jurisdiction where she/he claims domicile. Second, that person’s intention to remain domiciled in that jurisdiction for a noncommittal period is to be determined. Items indicating domicile can include whether the person lives with the rest of his or her family, where he or she a votes or participates in community services, whether he or she is a member of a public library, and the location of his or her employment, car registration, driving license, and bank accounts.

Being or becoming a member of the armed forces does not change the domicile of the party. A military spouse can give implied consent to a state court’s jurisdiction by making a general appearance in divorce or separation proceedings and thereby waiving jurisdictional objections.