chapter
1 Pages

Domicile

Domicile laws retain important aspects of coverture as well. A person’s domicile, or permanent residence, establishes that person’s rights in many areas of public policy-from purchasing licenses to suing in court. The common-law assumption that the domicile of a family is that of the husband still prevails in many states. In others, the courts have interpreted the MWPAs to nullify this preference, along with the elimination of unity. In others, courts say that the unity of the home continues, supporting the idea that there should be only one domicile for a husband and wife. Why it should be determined by the husband was explained in the oft-cited case of Carlson v. Carlson (1953):

“The general rule by the great weight of authority is that the wife must adopt the residence of the husband and that she cannot, without just cause, maintain a separate domicile. There are sound reasons for this rule. The law imposes on the husband the burden and obligation of the support, maintenance and care of the family and almost of necessity he must have the right of choice of the situs of the home. There can be no decision by majority rule as to where the family home shall be maintained, and a reasonable accompaniment of the imposition of the obligation is the right of selection” (p. 250).