Spousal Abandonment Lawyer in Raleigh, NC
For many separating spouses, the decision to separate from one another is a mutual one and the spouses are able to communicate about the steps necessary to end their marriage and enter into a separation agreement. In other cases, spouses are in disagreement as to whether the marriage should and the legal implication of spousal abandonment is one that needs to be discussed with an attorney.
Contact Younce, Vtipil, Baznik & Banks online or by phone at (919) 661-9000 today to schedule an initial consultation. We also have staff fluent in Spanish to serve the Spanish-speaking members of our community.
What is Marital Abandonment in North Carolina?
Under North Carolina law, abandonment occurs when one spouse (1) willfully ends cohabitation; (2) without the intent to resume living together; (3) without consent of the other spouse; and (4) without justification or provocation.
If a spouse leaves home to escape abuse, it is justifiable as “constructive abandonment.” Physical or verbal abuse, substance abuse, adultery, becoming emotionally absent from the marriage, or withholding love and affection, would be justifiable reasons for constructive abandonment.
Temporarily leaving home for such legitimate obligations as military service or job duties or to assist an ailing relative would not be considered abandonment, despite lack of spousal consent.
Spousal abandonment and Alimony
Spousal abandonment is one of the factors that a judge can consider in determining whether to award alimony and if so, how much and for how long. The judge has wide discretion when it comes to abandonment and can decide that abandonment by one spouse should have a significant impact or no impact at all on the outcome of an alimony case.
Seeking Child Custody After Spousal Abandonment
In some cases of abandonment, the circumstances may require you to seek custody of any minor-age children you shared. Without your spouse’s participation in a child custody agreement, the decision to award custody would be made by a family law judge.
North Carolina custody laws require a judge to decide custody by determining what will be best for the child or what will promote the interests and welfare of the child. There are certain factors that may be taken into consideration, including the role each parent has taken in caring for the children. The judge would look at what the absent spouse did for the children historically as well as since the spouse abandoned the marriage.
Additional questions typically considered prior to a child custody decision – what’s the status of the child’s relationship with each parent, what’s each parent’s ability to take care of the children for long or short periods of time – may already be answered in cases of abandonment.
Let Our North Carolina Divorce Lawyers Help You
If your spouse has left you without reason and refuses to cooperate with your efforts to repair or end your marriage, you should understand your legal options. The Raleigh divorce attorneys of Younce, Vtipil, Baznik & Banks have extensive experience helping people with the many issues of separation and divorce, including spousal abandonment.
A Raleigh family law lawyer can offer you a confidential discussion of your legal options and help you to move forward toward separation and divorce in a manner that is most beneficial to you.
Call us at (919) 661-9000 or fill out our online form today. We have a dedicated and caring staff, including staff members fluent in both English and Spanish for your convenience. We believe in the importance of quality client service and will give you the personal attention you deserve. Let’s talk.