Many spouses in New York seek the help of a Suffolk County divorce attorney when their partners leave their marital homes with seemingly no intention to return.
That’s one of the best steps to take as it’s possible the marriage, by then, is already reparable. Nevertheless, it still helps to know more about legal spousal abandonment. This way, you can make sounder decisions for yourself and your family.
1. What Is Spousal Abandonment?
In a legal sense, spousal abandonment is the willful or deliberate relinquishment of one’s duty to the spouse or the family. It has two categories:
The divorce might revolve around criminal neglect if you can show the court cause. It could be your spouse stopped during their obligation to you. These include avoiding sexual relations for a year, domestic abuse, or infidelity.
Constructive abandonment happens when the spouse decides to leave you who might be sick or the children who are still minors for no reason. New York is a no-fault divorce state, the last one to do so. You don’t need to prove you have been abandoned to file for divorce.
It can work on your favor, though, if you want to fight for your children’s custody, division of assets, or spousal support.
2. Is Legal Separation Spousal Abandonment?
Usually, the answer here is no. Legal separation means that the couple decided between themselves to live apart. This needs a court order. In other words, there’s no willful abandonment of responsibilities. Many couples start this way before filing for divorce.
It allows them to enjoy many economic benefits. For example, they can still maximize the spouse’s insurance coverage since, under the law, they’re still married.
3. Can an Abandoned Spouse Prevent the Other Spouse to Return in the Home?
When a spouse leaves with hardly any intention to return, the instinct is to start again. That can include changing the locks of your home. You cannot do this, though, unless you request and have been granted a court order. You might also not do this even if you’re under divorce proceedings.
However, you can ask the court to award you the property once you start dividing your assets.
4. Can the Abandoned Spouse Request for Financial Support?
The answer is yes. The court can even grant one even when the abandoned spouse decides not to go through with the divorce. Note that there’s a difference between the financial support you will receive if you file for a divorce. By then, this support becomes spousal maintenance or alimony.
In spousal maintenance, the ex-spouse might have to provide economic support for a specified period. It can last for months or years. Before the divorce, you will receive financial aid, and it ends as soon as you dissolve the marriage.
Spousal abandonment is more than enough to make you feel alone, but you’re not. You have divorce attorneys in New York who can provide you options. If you intend to file for a divorce, they can competently represent you to save you the hassle and additional pain.