Residence Law & Legal Definition


Residence refers to a place of adode that is more than merely temporary. It is also used interchangeably with the term "domicile". Although a person may have more than one residence, a person may have only one legal domicile, which is their primary residence for purposes of obtaining the jurisdiction of the court in the area of domicile. In the United States Military, there is a difference between the terms "Home of Record," and "Legal Residence."

"Home of Record" and "Legal Residence" may, or may not be the same address. One's "Home of Record" is the place one was living when they entered the military (or, re-enlisted in the military, if one chooses).

"Home of Record" is used to determine travel entitlements when one separates from the military. It has nothing to do with voting or paying taxes, registering vehicles, nor any of the other priviledges of state residency.

"Legal Residency," or "domicile", on the other hand refers to the place where a military member intends to return to and live after discharge or retirement, and which they consider their "permanent home." Legal residency determines what local (state) tax laws a military member is subject to, and in which local (city, county, state) elections they may vote in.

Divorce laws differ from state to state and they apply only to residents in each state. Each state has its own residency requirements. Some of the factors, among others, used in determining residency may include: where you actually live, where you vote, where you pay taxes, receive mail, where your personal belongings are, which state has issued your current driver's license and where you bank.

Under bankruptcy law, most states follow the federal exemption guidelines, which include equity in the primary living residence. The bankruptcy law allows states to add homestead provisions. The state of Texas allows the primary residence designated for living purposes with an unlimited value. The state of Florida has the same primary residence exemption.