Family and Divorce Law Jargon Buster: Part 20 – Habitual Residence

February 5, 2015, By Slater Heelis

This is the next instalment in our bitesize blog series in which we hope to demystify some of the legal terms which are frequently used by family solicitors when giving legal advice and in the family courts environment.

Habitual Residence: This term is relevant when you are filling in a Divorce Petition. It is not actually defined in the statute books and therefore has created some legal argument in the past. Essentially, to describe yourself as ‘habitually resident’ in England or Wales, you must have a regular physical presence in the country (even if that presence is illegal!). Temporary absences will not prevent habitual residence. If a person is not habitually resident, they should look to see what their ‘domicile’ is. These terms are important when deciding if the court has has the jurisdiction to deal with the divorce or whether the divorcing couple actually have a choice as to where to issue divorce proceedings.

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