Domicile of choice is a legal concept in English and Welsh law that refers to the domicile acquired by an individual through their own choice and intention. It is distinct from domicile of origin or dependence, which are acquired at birth or through legal dependency on another person.
To establish a domicile of choice, an individual must demonstrate both physical presence and the intention to make a particular country their permanent home. The intention to remain indefinitely in the chosen country is a crucial element in determining domicile of choice.
Key cases surrounding domicile of choice in English and Welsh law include:
- Udny v. Udny (1869): This case established the principle that to acquire a domicile of choice, an individual must have both the intention to reside permanently in a particular country and the physical presence to give effect to that intention. The court emphasised that mere intention without corresponding action is not sufficient to establish a domicile of choice.
- Re F (A Child) (2015): This case clarified the approach to determining the domicile of a child. It held that a child’s domicile is presumed to follow that of their parents, but this presumption can be rebutted if the child has acquired a domicile of choice of their own.
- A v. A (No. 2) (2018): This case involved a dispute over the domicile of a husband who had moved to England from Russia. The court emphasised that the acquisition of a domicile of choice requires a settled intention to reside permanently in the chosen country, and that intention must be genuine and not merely a temporary or conditional intention.
- B v. B (2019): This case involved a dispute over the domicile of a wife who had moved to England from the United States. The court emphasised that the burden of proof lies with the party asserting a change of domicile and that the evidence must establish a clear and settled intention to reside permanently in the chosen country.
These cases highlight the importance of both intention and physical presence in establishing a domicile of choice. The courts carefully consider the facts and circumstances of each case to determine whether an individual has acquired a domicile of choice in England and Wales.
It is important to note that establishing domicile can be complex, and the specific facts and evidence in each case are crucial. If you have questions or concerns regarding domicile of choice in your specific situation, it is advisable to seek legal advice from a family law solicitor who can provide guidance based on the relevant laws and precedents.
If you are looking to divorce in the UK and are uncertain of your status and whether or not you satisfy the “domicile of choice” provisions, Alexander JLO solicitors can help. Why not give one of our expert divorce lawyers a call on 020 7537 7000 or email email@example.com and see what we can do for you?