Domicile: Categories of domicile: Domicile of dependence - Married women prior to 1974
The common law position of married women prior to 1 January 1974 was that the domicile of a married woman was that of her husband, that is, she acquired a domicile of dependence from him. Her domicile thus changed with his. This was the case throughout the UK.
A void marriage has no legal effect, so a woman could not acquire a domicile of dependence during such a ‘marriage’. However even if the marriage was void the woman could have acquired her own domicile of choice, which in many cases would have been the same as that of her putative husband, by living with him and intending to remain in his place of residence indefinitely.
Widows, divorcees and women whose marriages had been annulled had normal legal capacity to change domicile. However mere separation, including judicial separation, did not affect a woman’s domicile.
A divorcee who continued to live in her ex-husband’s law territory would not lose her former domicile of dependence (that is to say, she would not simply revert back to her domicile of origin while she remained in the territory) even though she was no longer legally dependent upon him.
Refer to RDRM22250 for guidance on married women who were or are US nationals.