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What To Do When Desertion Is A Factor (Part A)

Desertion is one of the few legally recognized fault-based grounds for divorce in Virginia. Desertion occurs when your husband leaves the marital home with no intention of returning.

When you married your spouse, it was with the intention of building a family together and sharing your residence as a unit. Having a spouse leave you without warning or consideration of your feelings is a traumatic event for any woman, not to mention the children.

Even if you and your husband had been fighting or having other marital problems, being abandoned by him can be a shocking and upsetting experience.

If you're filing a Virginia divorce on the grounds of desertion, there are some things to take into consideration.

What constitutes desertion in Virginia?

Partners having problems may take breaks from each other and stay with friends for a time, but this usually does not constitute desertion, as long as the spouse who left returns to the home and had every intention of doing so.

Similarly, your husband staying with a lover for several days and then returning home, as heartbreaking is it may be, is not considered desertion.

Virginia considers desertion to be when a partner leaves the family home against the wishes of the other partner with no intention of returning

If you feel your spouse has deserted you, you must be able to prove it. Proof of desertion can include anything that indicates your spouse's intention to not return to the home. You must also prove that you did not condone or encourage his leaving in any way.

If You Are Considering Leaving the Marital Home

If you are considering leaving your husband, you need to be careful not to commit desertion yourself. You should speak with your Virginia divorce attorney to learn strategies for leaving the home without legally deserting your spouse.

Of course, if proof exists that you were forced to leave your home because of cruel or abusive acts by your husband, you can't be charged with desertion, and you can file a divorce on the grounds of cruelty or constructive desertion.

Constructive desertion is when your spouse's actions create a home environment that is dangerous, abusive or otherwise unlivable.


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