In order to establish a domicile, an individual has to be physically present in a place and, s/he must have the intention to continue residence in the place for an unlimited period[i].
Thus, two essential factors required to establish a domicile are[ii]:
- Residence along with physical presence; and
- An intention to continue there permanently or for an unlimited period of time.
To decide if a person has intention to take a place as his/her domicile, the conduct of the person and the surrounding circumstances are taken into consideration[iii].
If the two main elements required for establishing domicile exists, duration of the residence will not be an essential factor in establishing domicile[iv]. Even a short period is sufficient if there exists an intention to reside. Temporary absences have no effect on the status of domicile. Duration of residence is relevant only where it is required under state law[v].
An individual’s presence in the state and intention to make a home suffices to establish a domicile even if no particular locality is chosen by him/her for home. Also a particular home in a building is not necessary[vi]. The character of the building structure is not relevant as long as it is actual residence. It may be a rented house, a hotel, or a temporary shack[vii].
A domicile once established continues until it is replaced by a new domicile[viii].
[i] Ex parte Weldon, 601 So. 2d 115 (Ala. Civ. App. 1992).
[ii] Webb v. Craven (In re Estate of Craven), 265 Neb. 41 (Neb. 2002).
[iv] Parrott v. Abraham, 146 S.W.3d 623, 628 (Tenn. Ct. App. 2003).
[v] In re Eaton’s Will, 186 Wis. 124 (Wis. 1925).
[vi] Zimmerman v. Zimmerman, 175 Ore. 585 (Or. 1945).
[vii] McLeod v. Allstate Ins. Co., 789 So. 2d 806 (Miss. 2001).
[viii] Ex parte Weldon, 601 So. 2d 115 (Ala. Civ. App. 1992).