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The Divorce Encyclopedia
Abandonment


Term Definition Abandonment - the term used to describe the action of one spouse leaving the marital home without consent. This action is deemed as grounds for divorce in some states or provinces.
Application in Divorce In reference to abandonment as a ground for divorce, most state laws require that a minimum amount of time must have elapsed since a spouse left the marital home before a divorce can be granted (for example, six months or one year). Not all states consider abandonment as a ground for terminating a marriage.

Before abandoning the marital home, it is best to consult with a local attorney because in certain jurisdictions there may be legal repercussions that would be detrimental to one’s case. For example, it may be difficult to establish and present a convincing case for physical custody of a child, if the parent knowingly left him or her with the other parent for a significant period of time.

Abandonment is often referred to as the act of one parent leaving behind a family and thus providing limited or no support emotionally or financially.

Unfortunately abandonment is an epidemic in the United States. As more parents divorce, many children have a childhood shared with just one parent. In certain cases this is for the best, due to verbal or physical abuse, but in most situations it has become a choice for the parent to estrange himself or herself. Many states have instituted mandatory parenting classes for those parents going through a divorce, with have an emphasis on parental responsibility.

See also Desertion.

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