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How long does a spouse have to be gone to claim abandonment ?

Rockville, MD |

Wife is diagnosed severe bipolar, manic depressive, PTSD and keeps inventing things in her mind that make her leave home. Married 35 yrs. Came home to a note reading "I am tired of the abuse. I am leaving you. BYE!" My 2 daughters can back me saying that this is not a truth, but I am worried that she may file for abuse against me. Is there something I should do to keep her from getting alimony if it comes to divorce? Does what she claim to be true have any value in the court if she is diagnosed this way? And/or how long does she have to be gone for me to claim abandonment? I don't have any money to send for an answer so I hope this site is really FREE as described. I am reaching out for help as a distressed human being who is about to have a major breakdown...

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Attorney answers 1


You can file for an absolute divorce on the grounds of desertion if the desertion of your wife was a deliberate and final act of ending your marriage, with no reasonable expectation of a reconciliation, and the desertion has gone on for at least one year before you file.

You can file for a limited divorce now if you want to get the court process started on custody, support, etc. You'll just have to amend your complaint to one for absolute divorce after a year since her desertion has passed if you want to get a full and final absolute divorce.

As far as alimony goes, there are numerous factors the Court will take into consideration when determining if alimony will be awarded. One of the factors is the grounds for divorce. So if your wife is claiming that your cruelty towards her is the reason she "abandoned" you, she will have to prove that allegation in the divorce proceeding. But other factors the court will consider are your respective ages and incomes, the length of time you were married, and the standards of living you enjoyed while married compared to being separated.

I would suggest you have a consultation with a domestic lawyer on these issues. If you cannot afford an attorney, many counties have free family law clinics that can help you.

Good luck.

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