A spouse may feel “abandoned” by his or her partner if they moved out due to marital problems. However, if they are still paying the bills and spending time with the kids, there aren’t grounds to claim abandonment legally.

Definition Of Abandonment

Abandonment is a legal term with specific circumstances that must be met in order for someone to make the claim that they have been abandoned. The exact circumstances that constitute abandonment vary from state to state, but typically involve one spouse forsaking his or her responsibility to the family physically , emotionally, and financially for a period of at least one year, without the consent of the remaining spouse.

In Alabama, marital abandonment is grounds for an at-fault divorce, and the absent spouse may face consequences when the time comes for asset division, alimony,  child custody, and child support. There are currently at least 17 states that do not recognize fault-based divorce; therefore abandonment is not a relevant allegation in divorce proceedings.

“Other states refer to abandonment as desertion, and there is a fine legal line between the two. Desertion requires that your spouse leave you with the intent of terminating your marriage. Abandonment simply means that he left,” says Beverly Bird for LegalZoom.

If your spouse left you, you may claim that you’ve been abandoned. Contact Alabama Family Law Group today to schedule a consultation and discuss your case. You may be surprised at what the law considers marital abandonment to be.

Other Types Of Abandonment  

Criminal abandonment occurs when a spouse ceases to provide care or support for his or her partner who has significant health problems, or minor children. For example:

“If you have a spouse who suffers from cancer and you’ve become tired of being a caretaker the court will not recognize your desire to leave someone who is dependent upon you as grounds for a divorce. You will be granted a divorce. No-fault divorce laws are in place to make sure anyone who wants a divorce is able to get a divorce.

You will, however, pay for your desire to no longer be your sick spouse’s caretaker. You are free to walk away from a sick spouse but the courts will view that spouse financially dependent upon you and will hold you financially responsible for helping maintain the care needed via a court order.

Also, if you have a wife and children, you are not free to walk away and discontinue helping your wife support your children,” explains Kathy Meyer, Certified Divorce Coach.

Constructive Abandonment means that one spouse has made it unbearable for their partner to continue living together, or stay married, and the only option is to leave. “Just cause” to leave under these circumstances include domestic abuse, infidelity, withholding sex, and refusing financial support.

Whether you find yourself accused of abandonment or the victim of an absent spouse, my office can help you today! We specialize in divorce, alimony, child support, child custody, and military divorce. We have the strategies to build your case and help you win. Contact us today!

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    About The Author

    Charlotte Christian, Esq. is a family and divorce lawyer and founder of Charlotte Christian Law. Born and raised in the Yellowhammer State she still calls home, Charlotte is committed to helping those who experienced loss overcome their hardships and build a new life, stronger and more resilient than they were before. No stranger to trauma herself, including enduring the sudden losses of her father while a young child and husband after 10 years of marriage, Charlotte knows what it means practically and legally to put the pieces in place to create a future filled with security, hope, and opportunity, and find happiness once again. An avid sports fan, you can find Charlotte supporting SEC Athletics.