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If you are facing spousal abandonment or desertion, including but not limited to missed alimony or child support payments, an experienced attorney can help you navigate the legal side of this trying time. As your advocate, an Alpharetta spousal abandonment lawyer can file a fault-based divorce on the basis of this legal ground in a timely manner on your behalf and help you assert your rights under Georgia law.

How Does State Law Define Spousal Abandonment?

Official Code of Georgia Annotated §19-5-3 defines spousal abandonment as the continued desertion by either party for a period of at least one year. If either spouse leaves or no longer lives at the marital home, it may be considered abandonment. Alternatively, if either spouse forces the other to leave, it may be considered another form of desertion, known as “constructive abandonment.”

Spousal Abandonment and Divorce

State law allows estranged spouses to file “no fault” or “fault” divorces. Spousal abandonment is one of the many fault-based legal grounds for divorce in Georgia. This means that one spouse would be considered responsible for the end of the marriage by deserting the other.

As previously mentioned, state law requires continued absence for at least one year to qualify as grounds for total divorce on the basis of spousal abandonment. A spouse who cites spousal desertion as grounds for divorce must establish that they have been deserted for a year or more, in addition to meeting other requirements to file for divorce.

To successfully file for divorce on the grounds of spousal abandonment, the following factors must also be satisfied:

  • The spouse must refuse to cohabitate with the intent to separate
  • There must be no justification for the deserting spouse to leave
  • The spouse must have left without the consent of the other
  • The spouse must not have left for military deployment, work, or other obligations, for example, a temporary move for business reasons or a job may not qualify as spousal abandonment

A spouse who can establish spousal abandonment as the reason for the end of their marriage may be in a stronger position to negotiate issues like alimony, custody, or child support. Our Alpharetta attorneys can help gather evidence and present it before a judge to prove a continued and non-consensual absence.

Impact of Desertion on Property Distribution and Alimony Payments

All of a couple’s marital (i.e., shared) assets must be equitably distributed upon divorce. However, the court may take into consideration whether an abandoned spouse had to pay for the upkeep of the house and other property while the other party was absent. Permanent alimony payments may be appropriate in situations where a spouse was forcibly driven off by the other, under O.C.G.A. §19-6-4.

Call an Alpharetta Spousal Abandonment Attorney for Help

If you are facing a possible spousal abandonment or desertion situation, you should consider calling an experienced attorney for help sooner rather than later. An Alpharetta spousal abandonment lawyer at our firm can get legal proceedings started for you.

Our team can also let you know what you are entitled to in a desertion situation with your spouse. Let one of our attorneys act as your advocate during legal proceedings and negotiations. Call today.

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