My wife and I have been trying to work out our divorce for the past year while living in the same house. We haven’t made much progress in the settlement process and I recently had my lawyer notify her of my intention to move out.
However, her lawyer is threatening me with abandonment. I’m not sure what that would mean for me. Is abandonment a grounds for divorce and how would it affect issues like child custody and alimony?
I am not licensed to practice law in Georgia. Therefore, I cannot inform you as to the specific laws of Georgia and can only provide you with general information concerning divorce and abandonment.
In Georgia, a person can use “abandonment,” which Georgia more correctly calls desertion – as a ground for divorce. However, Georgia requires that the desertion continue for a year before the person can use it as a ground for divorce. Keep in mind that desertion of a woman that you know to be pregnant with your child is a crime in Georgia.
I do not know whether you have actually filed for divorce in the mist of this past year of trying to work out a settlement. If one of you has already filed and the other party has answered and neither party claimed desertion as a ground for the divorce, then the parties won’t be able to go back and change their pleadings to claim desertion (unless they motion the court for permission to do so and it is granted).
Desertion affects an alimony claim and potentially your request for child custody. If a court finds that you deserted your children, you will have a difficult time getting custody of your children. If the court finds that you deserted your wife, they can take that into consideration when determining an alimony award.
Remember, I am unable to provide you with anything more than general divorce tips, so please consult a domestic litigation attorney in your area to obtain specific advice as to the laws in Georgia and how they impact your circumstances.