How is Spousal Abandonment Defined in California?

divorce attorneysWhen someone is unhappy in a marriage and wishes to end it, the next logical step for someone is to initiate divorce proceedings. However, there are instances of people choosing to walk away or simply “vanish” from the lives of their spouse and their children. 

This is known as spousal abandonment, and in CA it can impact some aspects of divorce proceedings for those looking to legally separate from their estranged spouse. Today’s blog post is a look at how spousal abandonment is defined as per California family law, as well as discussing those facets of a divorce that change when someone is abandoned by their spouse.

Is Spousal Abandonment a Valid Legal Reason for Divorce?

When it comes to divorce, it’s important to remember that California is a no-fault state. What this means is that both parties are free to leave the marriage if either chooses to, and neither spouse has to demonstrate that the other did something wrong in order to get separated or divorced. This means that a person can end a marriage even when the other person does not want to go down that path. 

In this sense, spousal abandonment is not a valid reason for divorce. As far as spouses go, the only complication is that the burden of initiating the legal divorce process is on the abandoned spouse. 

As far as child custody and child or spousal support are concerned, here’s where spousal abandonment becomes a relevant factor. When a parent leaves his/her partner and any children, this is considered a failure to uphold their parental duties. Thus, spousal abandonment can impact the resulting custody and support arrangement as the divorce is legally recognized.

Next Steps to Take after Spousal Abandonment in CA

When an abandoned spouse wishes to move forward with a legal divorce, he/she needs to notify their spouse. As they may not be able to reach the soon-to-be ex directly, they must try to contact their spouse via family members, friends, and any other potential connections that could relay the message.

If a person is unsuccessful in contacting their spouse after attempting in good faith, they may also be able to publish the notice of divorce proceedings in a newspaper for several weeks. This allows you to fulfill your service of process obligations, but you must have court approval first before you can proceed via a public notice of divorce proceedings. 

While most aspects of divorce remain the same when spousal abandonment is a factor, there are potential legal complexities at play. Before making any steps, make sure you’ve had a chance to connect with a qualified divorce attorney. Call us at R & S Law Group, LLP at (949) 825-5245 to book a free consultation where you can discuss your specific needs with our legal experts. We’re equipped to deal with any type of family law and divorce matter in CA, including divorces where one spouse was abandoned by the other party.

Call us today to learn more about how we can help!