Divorce and Spouse Abandonment

abandoned spouse rights

Divorce and Spouse Abandonment

Has your spouse moved out of your marital home? If so, it can be scary and difficult to know how to navigate your future. At Vella & King, we can help you decide if this departure qualifies as abandonment under Alabama law.

Abandoned Spouse Rights in Alabama

If your spouse has been absent from the home for more than a year, then you may qualify to file for divorce on grounds of abandonment. As covered in a previous blog post here on our website, divorce in Alabama can be based on fault or no-fault.

Abandonment is a fault-based ground for divorce. Per Alabama law, you can divorce your spouse for abandonment if he/she both physically and financially abandons the marital home for at least one year before you file a Petition for Divorce.

In order for the divorce to proceed on the basis of abandonment, you must prove to the court that the abandonment is voluntary (i.e., you did not “kick your spouse out of the house”), and that the abandoning spouse has no intention of returning. This means that you cannot continue any type of marital relationship after your spouse leaves the marital home.

Additionally, you will have to show that the spouse leaving did so with the intention of ending the marriage. Assuming you can prove abandonment, there are certain rights in place to protect you. This means that the court has discretion to award more in alimony and/or attorney’s fees if the abandoning spouse fails to contribute to the household, or can even award sole custody in situations where the abandoning spouse has provided no care for the parties’ children.

Contact Vella & King

If you believe you may qualify for a divorce on grounds of abandonment, please give the attorneys at Vella & King a call today.

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