Definition of Abandonment

Abandonment is the evading or forsaking of one’s social, public and family responsibilities while avoiding all normal responsibilities and duties. In some states abandonment is recognized as legal grounds for divorce, although state laws vary. For instance, in some states the court will require the abandoned spouse to try to reconcile with the spouse who has abandoned them, if possible. States also require the spouse, who has left, to remain absent for an extended, uninterrupted period of time. Spouses who leave to serve in the military or for some other required service or who have been forced from the house have not legally “abandoned” the house.

Abandonment can be physical desertion but also can be financial or sexual. Parents may also abandon their children. Parents who abandon their children and refuse to pay child support may forfeit their rights to have custodianship of their child and may find the courts agree to the request of the primary caregiver to have the parent’s parental rights terminated. For example, if a man impregnates his wife but later leaves her without providing child support and refuses to have relationship or contact with the child, the mother may request that the father’s parental rights be terminated. Talk to a divorce or family lawyer if you have been abandoned by your spouse or if your children have been abandoned by their mother or father.

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