Willful Abandonment in a Divorce - What Are the Consequences?

Willful abandonment in a divorce case can lead to serious consequences for the person that left without any communication, financial assistance or permission from the other spouse. In the divorce case, the judge may look unfavorably on the abandonment charge and provide the other spouse with greater advantages such as child custody and alimony.

What Is Willful Abandonment?

When a person leaves the house, leaves the relationship and leaves anyone else without permission or communication, he or she may abandon the situation. While there are some circumstances where there are special conditions or certain issues that can affect the outcome of the abandonment, willful abandonment explains that the person intentionally leaves the marriage with the intention of ending the relationship. This individual could leave children behind, could exit the marriage and may even leave bills and other expenses to the spouse without financial help. In a divorce case, there are some judges that will use the charge of willful abandonment to increase spousal support or decrease custody for the party that left.

The Abandonment of the Marriage

The person that leaves the marital property abandons the marriage when the matter involves the willful aspect. This is a deliberate removal of the person from the situation to not provide any help, contact or assistance in any manner. He or she may leave the town, state or even the country. The marriage usually will end shortly after this period which could last as little as a year. Some states can use the charge of willful abandonment in some manner in the divorce case. Other states are no-fault and may not hold the person that left responsible for anything specific.

Willful Abandonment and Custody

When the spouse that remains after abandonment has a child from the marriage, he or she can petition the courts for full and sole custody without any regard for the other parent. Willful abandonment involves the leaving of the youth with the other parent and without any monetary support in most of these situations. The person that leaves relinquishes all rights and visitation to the young person in the marriage for the duration of the abandonment. In these events, the parent that remains may have a better chance of primary or sole custody because the mother or father was not around with the intention of leaving the marriage.

Fault Divorce

Willful abandonment charges are serious in the divorce case when the other spouse has grounds for divorce in states where there is the use of fault. To secure a divorce in some states, the spouse must prove marital abandonment because the fault is an important aspect of the dissolution of the relationship. Proving the grounds for divorce is necessary for the court with a judge in these states. Willful desertion is one of the defining reasons for an initial separation that can occur during a period of the abandonment. The judge could grant the divorce process to start after the separation period.

The Aspects of Abandonment

Generally, the abandonment involves a complete lack of involvement in the relationship. However, the more specific impacts involve the financial aspect, the loss of companionship and placing other concepts in jeopardy. This can include the loss of a relationship with the spouse or any children and the loss of business in the marriage. One spouse may work while the other takes care of the home. However, one person may work while the husband or wife makes less money or is going to school. The specific impact on the relationship depends on when the person leaves the property.

Other aspects involve emotional and legal. The spouse will usually leave without breaking up the marriage. However, this involves a complete lack of communication or response. The person left behind is full of emotional surges including rage and distress. The legal aspect can involve taking the matter to the court and filing for custody or spousal support. The abandonment can also help the remaining person seek temporary or emergency financial support because of a mortgage or business dealings when the couple owns a private or public company. Hiring a lawyer can assist with these aspects and using them in the courtroom.

Legal Support to Inflict Consequences in Willful Abandonment

The spouse that remains will need to contact a lawyer to ensure the consequences are felt by the spouse that left. This more possible in states with fault divorce. However, the lawyer can explain the situation and how the abandonment impacted the situation negatively.

Provided by HG.org

Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication at the time it was written. It is not intended to provide legal advice or suggest a guaranteed outcome as individual situations will differ and the law may have changed since publication. Readers considering legal action should consult with an experienced lawyer to understand current laws and.how they may affect a case.

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