There are many things that can cause a person to end a marriage. It is important to know that a spouse may have grounds to allege abandonment if her spouse has reasons for leaving that fall within certain parameters. 

In North Carolina, for it to be considered spousal abandonment, the spouse had to have ended co-habitation without at least one of the following:

  1. The consent of the other spouse
  2. Justification for leaving 
  3. The intent to someday renew co-habitation

Essentially, if the couple does not mutually agree to part ways and one spouse leaves the other with the intent to end the marriage without reason, this may be considered abandonment.

There are lawful reasons for ending marital co-habitation, such as domestic violence, emotional abuse, infidelity, or drug and/or alcohol abuse. If any of these things occur in a marriage, a spouse’s decision to leave would likely not be considered abandonment. Since every situation is unique, a spouse’s justification to separate from the other spouse is determined on a case-by-case basis.

North Carolina also recognizes constructive abandonment. A situation can be considered constructive abandonment if a spouse abandons the marital relationship without physically leaving the marital home, but exhibits behavior that provokes the other spouse to leave the marriage.

Spousal and constructive abandonment are considered acts of marital misconduct and can be used as grounds to pursue or defend against a spousal support claim. If you or someone you know has questions regarding abandonment, contact the attorneys at Hatcher Law Group today.