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Home abandonment: Not simply moving out of the marital home

On Behalf of | Nov 26, 2021 | Divorce

In divorce, one of the things you may want to discuss is the topic of abandonment. When a spouse suddenly moves out of the home and has been out of the home for several months or years, does that constitute abandonment? If so, how does that affect your case?

Leaving the home is not necessarily enough to constitute abandonment in California. Marital abandonment happens when one spouse severs all ties with the other and has no intention of returning. If your spouse is still taking care of financial obligations or meeting with you to discuss the divorce or other matters, then moving out likely will not constitute abandonment.

Leaving the home isn’t necessarily abandonment

While leaving the home could be home abandonment in cases where the spouse no longer contacts the other and refuses to offer support, this is not particularly common. To use abandonment as a ground for divorce, you will need to show that the other party is not contacting you, is not honoring financial obligations to your marriage and otherwise refuses to participate in the marriage or divorce.

So long as your spouse is willing to pay child support, spousal support, cover shared marital costs and handle other aspects of your relationship while separated, the court is unlikely to state that they have committed any type of abandonment.

You have a right to move out if your home is uncomfortable for you

There is no rule that you and your spouse have to live together during your marriage or divorce. Legally speaking, it is necessary to have a period of separation before you divorce, so it makes sense for one of you to live somewhere else. Additionally, if abuse or violence took place in the home, then abandonment would be justified in most circumstances.

Abandonment is a highly specific issue that required a set amount of time to pass. Additionally, that abandonment needs to be permanent. If your spouse truly leaves without giving you any information about where they’ve gone or stops making payments and cannot be contacted, then you may be in a position to claim abandonment. Until then, it is unlikely to be used in your case.