Serving Indiana Since 1994

Marital abandonment and divorce

On Behalf of | Dec 19, 2023 | Divorce

Marriage is a journey filled with ups and downs, and separation is sometimes a natural result of those challenges. Yet when only one partner decides to end the relationship without any intention of returning, it raises questions about the grounds for divorce.

It is important to understand marital abandonment and how it impacts divorce proceedings.

Defining abandonment

Marital abandonment occurs when one spouse leaves the marital home and refuses to return. This can be a significant factor in the decision to pursue a divorce. However, it is necessary to note that abandonment alone may not be the sole grounds for divorce. Indiana recognizes both fault and no-fault grounds, and abandonment may fall under the category of fault-based grounds.

Fault-based grounds

State law allows divorce based on fault grounds, and abandonment is one of them. If a spouse has willfully deserted the marriage for a continuous period of at least one year, it may serve as grounds for divorce. In such cases, the abandoned spouse can file for divorce based on the fault of the departing partner.

No-fault grounds

In addition to fault-based grounds, the state also recognizes no-fault grounds for divorce. Couples can seek a divorce without proving fault by citing an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. In these cases, neither party is specifically blamed for the marriage’s failure, and the focus is on the irreparable breakdown of the relationship.

Proving marital abandonment

To establish marital abandonment as grounds for divorce, the abandoned spouse must provide evidence of the spouse’s intentional departure and a continuous absence for the required period. This evidence can include witness testimony, documentation of the departure or other relevant proof that supports the claim of abandonment.

Considerations and consequences

While abandonment can be grounds for divorce, it is important to consider the implications and potential consequences. Divorce proceedings involve various factors such as property division, child custody and support. Understanding the specific grounds for divorce is necessary for navigating these considerations.

Although the most recent U.S. census noted a nearly 11 percent decline in the Indiana divorce rate over 10 years, that does not reduce the challenges faced by people going through this difficult experience. Because of its nuances, a divorce based on marital abandonment requires careful navigation to reach an agreeable resolution.