Types of Domicile

Basically there are three types of domicile, as organized under common law and statutes[i].  They are:

  • domicile of origin,
  • domicile of choice or necessary domicile.; and
  • domicile by operation of law.

Domicile by birth is the domicile that is acquired by a child for the reason of its birth.  Thus it is attributed to everyone at birth.  For example, a child born in a marital relationship will take the domicile of its father, and a child born outside wedlock will take the domicile of its mother.

However, any person without a legal disability can have a domicile of choice.  Domicile by choice is the domicile that is presumed or inferred by law.  The law will presume a domicile of choice if there is a change of residence coupled with an intention of making the change permanent[ii].

Domicile by operation of law is the one that is imposed by law.  The following are the examples of domicile by operation of law:

  • When the parents of a child changes their domicile, the domicile of the child will also get changed by the operation of law; and
  • When a woman is married, she acquires the domicile of her husband.  However, a married woman can acquire her own domicile, independent of her husband

Domicile may also be classified as domestic domicile, foreign domicile, national domicile, state domicile, county domicile, or municipal domicile.

[i] State Election Bd. v. Bayh, 521 N.E.2d 1313 (Ind. 1988).

[ii] In re Estate Of Jones, 192 Iowa 78 (Iowa 1921).


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