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Top Legal Questions About Spousal Abandonment

Meghan Jones

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Spousal abandonment usually happens when a spouse leaves the other spouse for long periods of time with no knowledge of their whereabouts or contact. Spousal abandonment laws differ from state to state, leading to many legal questions. Q. What is spousal abandonment?
When one of the spouses leaves the relationship or marital home for an extended period of time with no information about their whereabouts, it constitutes as this. In a lot of states abandonment of a spouse is enough grounds to file for a divorce.

Q. If a spouse disappears for over 72 hours, is this considered spousal abandonment?
In most cases, 72 hours would not be sufficient duration for this to be considered as a case of abandonment. It is usually considered abandonment when a spouse leaves for six months or longer, with intimation to the spouse about where they are. If the spouse does not return for over one year, this could be considered an abandonment of the home and marriage.

Q. What recourse does a spouse abandoned at an airport with no money have?
Most courts would not see leaving a spouse stranded without money as a legal offence. Filing for divorce or separation would most likely be the only recourse. Even then, there would be no criminal charges that the stranded spouse could file.

Q. What is the law concerning spousal abandonment in California and is it grounds for a divorce?
In the state of California there’s no law on spousal abandonment. As such it isn’t usually considered as grounds for divorce. California recognizes two grounds for divorce or separations — irreconcilable differences and incurable insanity. A marriage could possibly be pushed into Irreconcilable differences from spouse abandonment. Many other states acknowledge this type of abandonment as legal bases for divorce or separation.

Q. Are people legally responsible for marital bills after they have abandoned their spouse, marriage and home?
Legally every person is obligated to take care of their bills and financial responsibilities. If you have been abandoned, the first thing to do would be to file for an appeal for divorce or a legal separation. This will help division of assets, community property and financial obligations easier. If there is no agreement before the divorce finalization about division of assets, then the court is most likely to decide on the division of assets. Spousal abandonment is not illegal in many states. It would be wise to retain legal counsel if you are faced with these types of abandonment.

The laws on abandonment of a spouse vary. While some states view it as grounds enough for a divorce petition, others do not consider it an offence. When faced with this type of abandonment, the only way to safeguard your interests is to know the law in your state.


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