Divorce abandonment becomes important in certain instances, if you are considering a fault divorce. The concept of legal abandonment has, however, become less important of a concept since most states no permit no fault divorces.
Traditionally, if two people wished to get a divorce, there had to be a reason for it. This reason was called the "grounds" for divorce or the "fault" in a fault divorce. Reasons or grounds for divorce generally included things like:
- Abuse or cruelty
- The inability to engage in sexual intercourse, if the problem was not known before the marriage
Most of these things were pretty serious things, and if they did not exist in a divorce situation, then the couple would have to make a choice about how to create "fault" or grounds for divorce. Abandonment was often the easiest way to create fault and get a divorce. One party would simply have to move out of the house and away from the other spouse in order to "abandon" him or her in the eyes of the law. Once the two parties had lived apart for a long enough period of time that one could be considered to have abandoned the other, then fault could be created and the parties could get a divorce.
Abandonment in the No Fault Divorce
Today, most states permit a no fault divorce, which means that parties can split up on the basis of irreconcilable differences and there need not be grounds or fault. In a no fault divorce, abandonment doesn't need to be proven. While the parties may have to live apart for a set number of months, depending on the state requirements for a no fault divorce, one will not be considered to have abandoned the other.
Is Abandonment Important Today?
Although abandonment may no longer be needed to serve as grounds for divorce, in states that continue to recognize fault divorces, abandonment can be listed as grounds for divorce, abandonment can still be considered a cause for a fault divorce. If one spouse does abandon the other, the spouse who was abandoned can file for divorce on the basis of this factor, and can potentially be awarded more in alimony or support based on the fact that the divorce was a fault divorce.
If you are considering divorce, especially if you believe you have been abandoned and want to prove fault, you need to get help. A lawyer can assist you in gathering the evidence you need in order to prove fault, and can help you to get the best possible divorce settlement agreement possible.