Domicile of Origin


Domicile of origin means the home of an individual’s parents.  It does not mean the place where the child was born when the parents were on a visit or journey.  It is not a place where a child happens to be born.  Thus, domicile of origin is different from an accidental place of birth.

Domicile of origin comes into existence as soon as the child becomes an independent person by birth.  If the child is born in a lawful wedlock then the child takes the father’s domicile.  But if the child is illegitimate that is born out of a lawful wedlock, the child takes the mother’s domicile[i].  It is because the minors are legally incapable of satisfying the requirements for creating a domicile by choice, their domicile is determined by that of their parents[ii].

The domicile of origin remains with an individual until another has been acquired[iii].  In order to change the domicile of origin, there must be an absolute removal from their present residence coupled with an intention to reside in another place.  A mere intention to remove is not sufficient.  Such intention to remove must be brought into effect.  On moving to a new place s/he acquires a domicile of choice and loses domicile of origin.  But if such person returns with an intention to reside in his/her prior residence then s/he will get back his/her domicile of origin[iv].

To determine an illegitimate child’s domicile, the illegitimate child is first legitimized by a statute.  Here the statute legitimizes the unlawful wedlock for giving recognition and acknowledgment to the child’s domicile.  For this purpose, the parent whose relation is required to be made legitimate must be domiciled in a state that permits such an act.  If a father is a resident of a state that permits legitimization by recognition, the fact that the mother and child are domiciled elsewhere will not affect the act of legitimating.  Such a legitimization will be recognized in every state.  However, if the domicile of the father at the time of the act of recognition is not of the state that implements the act which confers a legitimate status to the child, then the father’s subsequent removal to the latter state will not confer a legitimate status to the child[v].

[i] Gomez v. Snyder Ranch, 101 N.M. 44 (N.M. Ct. App. 1983).

[ii] Parrott v. Abraham, 146 S.W.3d 623 (Tenn. Ct. App. 2003).

[iii] Parrott v. Abraham, 146 S.W.3d 623 (Tenn. Ct. App. 2003).

[iv] Miss. Band of Choctaw Indians v. Holyfield, 490 U.S. 30 (U.S. 1989).

[v] Scalabrelli’s Estate, 1947 Pa. Dist. & Cnty. Dec. LEXIS 170 (Pa. C.P., Orphans’ Ct. Div. 1947).