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Edward J. Jennings P.A Motto

What is Marital Abandonment?


In the dating world, there is the phenomenon of “ghosting,” in which a person goes on a date with someone and then never hears from them again, despite multiple attempts at communication. Many people resort to ghosting because they don’t have good communication skills and they just want a clean break from the other person. They don’t want to have to explain their reasoning for not wanting to see the other person ever again. They just want to move on.

Well, you can’t do that when you’re married. You can’t just walk out the door one day and abandon your spouse and kids. You have obligations as a spouse and parent.

The law expects that you will take care of your spouse “for better or for worse,” so walking out the door and never coming back is not a good idea. It may even be hard to get a divorce if you abandon your spouse.

This is called marital abandonment and it refers to a situation in which one spouse severs ties with the family. They abandon their responsibilities and duties to the family. There are two main types of abandonment. Here’s what you need to know.

Constructive Abandonment

This type of abandonment occurs if you can prove that your spouse has made your life so unbearable that you had no choice but to leave. This may be emotional abuse, such as withholding sex or refusing to help with finances. It could also be physical abuse, such as domestic violence. In any case, you would need just cause to leave the marriage.

It can be difficult to prove constructive abandonment as fault in a divorce. The good news is that Florida and most other states are no-fault states, so you can get a divorce without your spouse’s permission. While the courts won’t force you or your spouse to stay in a marriage, the person who left the marriage will be held financially responsible for property division, child support, and spousal support.

Criminal Abandonment

Criminal abandonment is much more severe. This occurs when one person stops providing for their spouse or minor children. An example would be if your spouse suffers from cancer and you no longer want to be their caretaker. In this case, the court will not recognize this as grounds for a divorce. You cannot abandon someone who is dependent upon you. However, you can still get a divorce in Florida and other no-fault states.

However, there is a catch. You can divorce a sick spouse, but the courts will consider your partner as financially dependent upon you. You will still be financially responsible for their expenses, including their medical care. If you have minor children, you have a legal and financial responsibility to provide for them as well.

Seek Legal Help

It’s not right to abandon a marriage. If you no longer want to be married, you should get a divorce instead of simply leaving your home and never coming back.

If you no longer want to be married, contact Fort Lauderdale divorce lawyer Edward J. Jennings, P.A. to learn more about your legal options. Schedule a consultation today by calling 954-764-4330 or filling out the online form.


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The first step in solving your legal problem is to meet with a skilled, experienced lawyer in a confidential setting to discuss your matter. After getting to know you and your unique situation, your attorney can explain your options and guide you toward the best path to resolution. Whether you need general advice or are in the midst of a serious legal dispute, the law office of Edward J. Jennings, P.A. is here for you. Are you contemplating litigation, or have you recently been served with a lawsuit? Fill out the form below to schedule a consultation with an attorney at our firm.

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