Criminal desertion is a common sort of marital abandonment. This occurs when one person ceases to provide care, protection, or assistance to their spouse who is ill or to their young children without "good reason." The person may not want to be married any longer or may be able to provide for themselves but cannot find other help. Criminal desertion is a crime in all 50 states. In most cases, criminal desertion can result in arrest and conviction for abandonment of dependents.
Abandonment can also involve an act that shows that a marriage is not wanted or desired anymore. For example, if a husband leaves his wife because he does not love her or because she makes his life difficult by refusing to get a job, this would be called intentional abandonment. If a wife leaves her husband because he beats her or abuses her physically or verbally, this would be called negligent abandonment. No matter what the cause, if a person knows about the abuse in the marriage and does nothing to stop it, they have abandoned their partner intentionally or knowingly.
People are often confused as to the difference between intentional and negligent abandonment. Intentional abandonment involves a decision by the person to cut off all contact with their spouse-not just no contact as required by law for those convicted of negligence abandonment.
Abandonment is a reason for fault divorce in just a few states, and it often comes with strings attached. In Arkansas, for example, abandonment is only grounds for divorce if the spouse who has left has the financial means to maintain the other spouse but refuses to do so. If that situation applies to you, then abandonment may be a reason for divorce.
Abandonment can also be a reason to grant a divorce without regard to fault. In these cases, the court will decide what would be in the best interest of the children and act accordingly. If you are able to show that the marriage is irretrievably broken down such that your spouse does not want to reunite with you, even if you change your mind, then the court can grant you a divorce simply because it is in the children's best interest.
In some situations, abandonment may actually help your case when it comes to custody disputes. If you can prove that your spouse has intentionally removed the children from the state to avoid having to pay child support, then the court may see this as proof that he or she is not willing and able to care for the children and could be given primary custody.
Not all states agree on whether abandonment is a reason for divorce. Some hold that it is not, while others view it as a potential factor in their courts. Before filing for divorce, make sure you know the law in your state.
Spousal Abandonment Syndrome occurs when one of the partners departs the marriage unexpectedly and without displaying any indicators of dissatisfaction with the relationship.
The abandoned spouse retains ownership of the marital house. However, once marital abandonment is demonstrated, he or she should not anticipate to be able to return to the property without difficulty. The abandoned spouse has the authority to alter any locks and restrict access.