Abandonment/Desertion of the Marriage
Am I at fault in a divorce if I leave the home?Maryland law and public policy condones a spouse leaving the marriage if s/he has justification for doing so. To require a spouse to stay in an unwanted marriage would have dire consequences for the entire family to include tension, anger, and possibly domestic violence. It is not a high standard to prove that you were "justified" in leaving your marriage. If you have made any effort at all to salvage your marriage (discussing your concerns with your spouse, marital therapy, trial separation, etc.), then your spouse is on notice that you are unhappy and as long as you can articulate your concerns you can prove your "justification." For this reason, divorces are rarely granted on the basis of "desertion."
What are the legal consequences if I leave my children behind at the marital home?"Prior abandonment and surrender" of a child is a factor for the Court to consider when awarding custody of the child.
This is relevant where a parent makes a VOLUNTARY choice to abandon the child. Military service, mandatory job assignment, or major health problems are not voluntary choices. It is also not voluntary abandonment of your children if you leave a bad marriage but you are unable to take your kids with you.
There are many separations where the economically dependent spouse cannot afford to leave the home and she certainly cannot afford to leave the home and rent or buy a place large enough for herself and the children. Often, the husband refuses to leave and he refuses to allow her to take the kids with her, telling her that if she leaves the Judge will find that she "abandoned" the marriage.
If you can demonstrate that you asked to take the kids, or you asked your spouse to leave, that he refused and prevented you from taking the kids, and that you continued to se
How does desertion affect alimony?For the reasons described above who leaves the house is not a critical factor in the amount and duration of alimony. There are several factors that Judges consider when deciding the question of alimony. The Courts weigh the financial realities of the two spouses more than other factors unless one spouse's behavior was particularly heinous.
Still, one of those factors is "the circumstances that gave rise to the end of the marriage." This question is much broader than who left the home. In fact, some spouses feel they have to leave the home because the other spouse drove them out with his/her behavior. This is called "constructive desertion." Therefore, if you made any efforts at all to repair the marriage or to discuss a reasonable separation, it is highly unlikely that a Judge will punish you via a reduction or increase in the alimony award. After all, 100% of divorces someone has to leave the home eventually.