Otherwise known as desertion, abandonment is a very common scenario in which one of the spouses, with no apparent cause or reason, abandons the other by way of essentially getting up and leaving either the household or their spouse alone and on their own in general. In such a scenario, the abandoned spouse would have grounds for a divorce, however there are some requirements to bring a divorce under such grounds. A big one is that they have been abandoned for at least a year, and that not only was this departure not agreed upon, but also that the abandoned spouse did not cause the unwanted walk out. This is significant because if there is a scenario where one of the spouses has made it virtually impossible to live with the other (this, as you can imagine, is not unheard of), then the abandoning spouse can claim constructive desertion in response to a suit. If a spouse’s conduct makes it impossible for their spouse to stay in the marital home, they have been constructively deserted.

Another way in which a spouse can be considered deserted is in a sexual sense, as in their spouse refuses to have sexual relations, which is widely accepted as being part of a marriage. Sexual desertion is also considered a fault ground, and the same time limit to prove exists (one year), and during this year of no sex, the spouses must have lived under the same roof. Constructive desertion is often the result of cruel and inhumane treatment, but it is important to understand that if this is a ground which you want to pursuit, you will have to divulge and delve into some very personal and potentially uncomfortable topics in court, in front of attorneys and the judge. Lastly, it is important that the major difference between separation and abandonment is that a separation is mutual between the two parties, whereas abandonment is not agreed upon between the spouses.