The principal place of residence of an individual. This is determined primarily by intent. A good indication of domicile is where a person registers to vote.
The place where a person has fixed his ordinary dwelling, without a present intention of removal. The law of domicil is of great importance in those countries where the maxim 'actor sequitur forum rei' is applied to the full extent.
A man cannot be without a domicil, for he is not supposed to have abandoned his last domicil until he has acquired a new one. Though by the Roman law a man might abandon his domicil, and, until be acquired a. new one, he was without a domicil. By fixing his residence at two different places a man may have two domicils at one and the same time; for example, if a foreigner, coming to this country, should establish two houses, one in New York and the other in New Orleans, and pass one-half of the year in each; he would, for most purposes, have two domicils. But it is to be observed that circumstances which might be held sufficient to establish a commercial domicil in time of war, and a matrimonial, forensic or political domicil in time of peace, might not be such as would establish a principal or testamentary domicil, for there is a wide difference in applying the law of domicil to contracts and to wills.
There are three kinds of domicils: 1. The domicil of origin. 2. The domicil by operation of law, or necessary domicil. 3. Domicil of choice.
By domicil of origin is understood the home of a man's parents, not the place where, the parents being on a visit or journey, a child happens to be born. Domicil of origin is to be distinguished from the accidental place of birth.
There are two classes of persons who acquire domicil by operation of law. 1st. Those who are under the control of another, and to whom the law gives the domicil of another. Among these are: 1. The wife. 2. The minor. 3. The lunatic, etc. 2d. Those on whom the state affixes a domicil. Among this class are: 1. The officer. 2. The prisoner, etc.
Among those who, being under the control of another, acquire such person's domicil, are the wife. The wife takes the domicil of her hushand, and the widow retains it, unless she voluntarily change it, or unless she marry a second time, when she takes the domicil of the second husband.
A party may have two domicils, one actual, the other legal; the husband's actual and the wife's legal domicil, are, prima facie, one. The domicil of the minor is that of the father, or in case of his death, of the mother. The domicil of a lunatic is regulated by the same principles which operated in cases of minors. The domicil of such a person may be changed by the direction, or with the assent of the guardian, express or implied.
The law affixes a domicil. 1. Public officers, such as the president of the United States, the secretaries and such other officers whose public duties require a temporary residence at the capital, retain their domicils. Ambassadors preserve the domicils which they have in their respective countries, and this privilege extends to the ambassador's family. Officers, soldiers, and marines, in the service of the United States, do not lose their domicils while thus employed. 2. A prisoner does not acquire a domicil where the prison is, nor lose his old.
The domicil of origin, which has already been explained, remains until another has been acquired. In order to change such domicil, there must be an actual removal with an intention to reside in the place to which the party removes. A mere intention to remove, unless such intention is carried into effect, is not sufficient. When he changes it, he acquires a domicil in the place of his new residence and loses his original domicil. But upon a return with an intention to reside, his original domicil is restored.