Dogs home

Posted: 18th October 2011

dog1The question of where somebody is 'resident' is important not only for tax purposes, but also to determine where divorce proceedings can be brought. For those who lead the ‘jet-set’ lifestyle, such questions can be difficult indeed.
In a recent case, a divorcing wife sought to bring proceedings in the UK but was opposed by her husband. To petition in the UK, she had to show she was habitually resident in the UK and had been resident for a year prior to the petition.
In the preceding seven years, the family had stayed in a number of European countries as well as in the USA and Brazil.
Despite the wife having spent the winter in Switzerland, she was considered to be habitually resident here. Facts such as her not having taken the family dogs to Switzerland and only taking winter clothes were key elements of the evidence that she intended to return to the UK and thus was still resident here.
One of the main lessons to be learned from this decision is that residence and physical presence are by no means the same thing. Additionally, whilst it is possible to be resident in more than one country, it is not possible to be habitually resident in more than one.