CanI be charged with abandonment if I left my husband and kids but see them everyday?

UPDATED: Oct 4, 2010

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CanI be charged with abandonment if I left my husband and kids but see them everyday?

Moved out of home.

Asked on October 4, 2010 under Family Law, Michigan


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

A divorce case is not a criminal proceeding, therefore you cannot be “charged” with anything. If you leave your children alone and disappear, it is possible that the state could charge you with criminal neglect or abuse due to abandonment (however you see your children daily so that probably would not be the case in your situation). Otherwise the term "abandonment" is really not one used in a divorce proceeding. Abandonment or desertion, as it was technically called, was repealed as a basis for divorce when MI instated the "No-Fault" rules for Divorce. MI no longer requires a person to state specific grounds for divorce.

Notwithstanding the foregoing, there are certain things you need to know if you leave the martial home during the proceedings:

  • If you leave the house for the short period of time during the pendency of the divorce proceeding, You will not lose your share of the equity in the house if you leave for just a short time; however, the longer you are gone the more likely you will lose it.
  • You may find that personal items that you leave at the home somehow “disappear” or are "accidentally" destroyed.
  • If you leave the home, your spouse may file with the court for an “Order for Exclusive Occupancy” allowing that only he is entitled to stay in the home during the divorce proceeding (ie you cannot return to the home).
  • If you leave the home, the court may still require you to pay part of the household bills during the divorce.
  • If you leave the home, you may lose your claim for the home to be awarded to you.
  • If you leave the home and you leave the children at the home with your spouse, you may lose the possibility of receiving custody of the children.

At this point, you really need to consult directly with a divorce attorney in your area.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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