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Divorce - Jurisdiction - Domicile

Sahu v. Sahu, [Ms. 2180946, Apr. 3, 2020] __ So. 3d __ (Ala. Civ. App. 2020). The court unanimously (Edwards, J.; Thompson, P.J., and Moore, Donaldson, and Hanson, JJ., concur) reverses the Montgomery Circuit Court’s order dismissing a divorce action for lack of jurisdiction.

The Court reiterated and applied settled law that

“Residence, for purposes of § 30-2-5, is the same thing as domicile. As has been noted before, domicile is an abstract concept. Alabama decisions hold that domicile requires two elements: (1) one’s physical presence in the chosen place of residence, and (2) an accompanying intent to remain there, either permanently or for an indefinite length of time. It has been said that domicile is that place to which, whenever one is absent, he or she has an intent to return. When a party physically resides in one location, [t]he intention to return [to another location] is usually of controlling importance in the determination of the whole question [of domicile].”

Ms. *6, quoting Livermore v. Livermore, 822 So. 2d 437, 441-42 (Ala. Civ. App. 2001)(internal citations and quotation marks omitted).

“[T]he overall tenor of the husband’s testimony was that he desired and intended to remain in Montgomery indefinitely to continue in his current employment and associated research at Alabama State University, even to the point of seeking to become a legal permanent resident. The fact that he has not announced plans to seek to become a naturalized citizen does not preclude him from establishing Alabama as his domicile.” Ms. *9.

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