Sometimes, one partner in a marriage simply leaves the marital home without consent, makes no attempt to reconcile, and stops providing financial support to the household. For the husband or wife who has been deserted, the decision to get a divorce is a decision to get on with their life. Alabama allows abandonment as grounds for a divorce.
At Leigh Daniel Family Law, we can review the specifics of your situation and help you understand whether you qualify for a divorce as a result of abandonment. Our experienced and compassionate divorce lawyers strive to make our clients feel confident as we pursue their goals to end their marriages. We know that dwelling on the past is unproductive and potentially depressing, so we help our clients focus on their future and make forward-looking decisions.
We can provide you with a free, 30-minute consultation with one of our Associate Attorneys to gather information and address the questions you may have.
If you are in the state of Alabama and your spouse has left you, you need a caring attorney who understands the difficulty of your situation and can help you evaluate the appropriate legal steps to take based on your circumstances. Contact us today or learn more from our family law resources. We are ready to answer your abandonment divorce questions and seek a positive outcome for you. Call now for a free, no-obligation consultation at (256) 551-0500.
The Definition of Abandonment in Alabama Marriages
Alabama is a no-fault divorce state. To file for a divorce, either you or your spouse must have been a resident of the state for six months. You also need to choose why you are filing for divorce.
One of the reasons to file for divorce is the abandonment of the marriage.
Alabama law recognizes marital abandonment as a spouse moving out of the marital home, living away from the home continuously for a year or longer with no intent to return, and discontinuing marital relations.
Abandonment from the marital bed and board means being physically and intimately absent with no intention of resuming relations and withdrawing financial support.
The filing spouse must provide evidence of abandonment, such as records showing that he or she has paid all of the bills over the course of the previous year and the other spouse has disregarded their financial responsibilities.
Abandonment must be voluntary. A spouse has moved out without a valid reason. You cannot claim abandonment if you kicked your spouse out after an argument. A spouse who flees an abusive relationship or domestic violence has not abandoned the marriage. A spouse who refuses to relocate for the other spouse’s new job has not been abandoned.
Divorces involving abandonment can be complicated to pursue. You will benefit from seeking the help of a knowledgeable Alabama divorce lawyer to discuss the best strategy.
Types of Abandonment in Marriage
Some states recognize different types of marital abandonment:
- Constructive abandonment occurs when a spouse leaves the marital relationship because the other party has made it impossible to remain in the relationship and the marital home. This implies some type of marital misconduct (domestic violence, substance abuse, adultery).
- Criminal abandonment occurs when a spouse stops fulfilling their obligations for support, protection, or care of an ill spouse or for the care, protection, and upbringing of minor children without just cause. Even after a divorce, an ex-spouse with the ability to do so may be legally obligated to provide support to an ill former spouse (alimony) and to underage children (i.e., child support).
Abandonment is part of the State of Alabama’s primary divorce statute as one of the grounds for which the Circuit Court has the power to divorce persons from the bonds of matrimony.
Abandonment divorce in Alabama requires:
- Moving out of the marital home with the intent to end the marriage
- Ending marital relations
- Discontinuing childcare or other contact with children of the marriage
- Ending financial support for the other spouse, children, and home.
How Abandonment in Alabama Affects Divorce Proceedings
The thorniest issues in a divorce are usually alimony, child custody and support, and division of marital property. If you are citing abandonment as grounds for divorce, the Court is going to look more favorably on you in consideration of each of these issues.
In a true case of divorce by abandonment, in which a spouse left home with no intention of ever resuming contact, you would not expect push-back on your demands for sole custody of your children and possession of the home and other marital assets.
Legally, even if your spouse abandoned the marital home, the estranged spouse has certain rights and responsibilities under Alabama divorce laws. Being a parent means different things to people at different stages of their life. There may come a time when your ex-spouse decides they do want to be a part of their children’s lives.
You need to have a divorce attorney who will look out for your interests and seek to include the necessary child custody and visitation restrictions in your divorce decree. The same is true for your home and any other real or personal property of value. At Leigh Daniel Family Law, our attorneys will work to have the court award you the property and assets you need to support your family as you seek to make positive changes in your life.
Meanwhile, assuming the spouse who has abandoned your marriage can be located, the court can compel them to pay child support and/or alimony if they are able to do so. We will document and demand what you are due.
Help with Divorce After Marital Abandonment in Alabama
The process of getting a divorce can be more difficult if your spouse has completely walked out of your marriage and your children’s lives and severed communications. A desertion divorce could become even more complicated if your spouse cannot be located and served with divorce papers. But Huntsville family law attorney Leigh Daniel has more than 20 years of experience resolving issues that arise with all manner of divorce in Alabama. As your divorce attorney, Leigh will help you with the following:
- Navigate Alabama’s spousal abandonment laws and divorce process.
- Uphold your rights, particularly regarding your children and assets.
- Put an end to unwarranted demands or false accusations asserted by your spouse.
- Feel confident that you can get through this difficult time.
A desertion divorce case in Alabama can be complicated. At Leigh Daniel Family Law, we prefer reasonable discussion of the facts when disputes arise and compromise when it is necessary to meet your goals. But we fight aggressively when the other side refuses to act in good faith or simply refuses to budge.
If your spouse decides that divorcing him or her is going to be a problem for you, it will be important for you to have a knowledgeable attorney who is skilled at keeping the divorce proceedings moving forward. When protecting your rights means going to court to advocate on your behalf, Leigh Daniel will be ready to stand up for you.
You can count on Leigh and her skilled legal team to provide personalized attention and strategic solutions to your divorce from a spouse who has abandoned you and your marriage.
Contact Us Today for Legal Help with Abandonment Divorce in Alabama
If your spouse has abandoned you and it is time to legally end your marriage in Alabama, speak to Leigh Daniel Family Law about what is required of an abandonment divorce. We can explain the legal issues you face if you are seeking to prove abandonment, what complexities may arise in an abandonment case, and how we would deal with them on your behalf.
Divorce on the grounds of abandonment can turn from simple to hostile very quickly. Attorney Leigh Daniel can apply her decades of experience in family law cases to seek the positive outcome you want. Our experienced legal team will go above and beyond to help you get out of an abandoned marriage and realize the inviting life ahead of you.