Does lack of sex qualify as constructive abandonment?

Question:Cordell & Cordell attorney Andrea Miller

I have been married for a very long time, but my wife has slept in another room for many years. There has been no intimacy, sexual contact, or affection for over 8 years.

Does this qualify as constructive abandonment?



Constructive abandonment is when the other spouse commits acts of cruelty, neglect, or failure to provide for the other spouse’s support. The fact that there has been no intimacy or affection in over 8 years could help sustain a claim for constructive abandonment.

The mere fact that she is sleeping in a separate room, by itself, is not enough to prove abandonment. However, sleeping in another room coupled with the lack of intimacy or affection may add to the strength of a claim for constructive abandonment.

Without more facts it is hard to tell if a claim for constructive abandonment will be valid or not.

Cordell & Cordell has divorce lawyers in North Carolina and would be happy to assist you.  Please be advised that my answering of this question does not constitute an attorney-client relationship.


Andrea Miller is a Staff Attorney in the Charlotte, N.C., office of Cordell & Cordell where she practices domestic relations exclusively. Ms. Miller is licensed in the state of North Carolina. Ms. Miller received her undergraduate degree in History and her Juris Doctor from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  While in law school, she on the Client Counseling Team for Moot Court and became a board member. Ms. Miller also participated in UNC’s Legal Assistance Clinic whereby she helped represent indigent clients obtain legal counsel primarily in the area of domestic relations.

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One comment on “Does lack of sex qualify as constructive abandonment?

    I did it for 8 years. She slept with the kids all those years. It is cruelty and it is abuse. I have had to come to grips with it being abuse. In a marriage its abuse because you having given your solemn promise not to go outside of sex for marriage and you are legally bound with “at fault” penalties by the legal system for going outside of the marriage for those needs. So having lived through it. I can tell you absolute it is torture. Is is abuse. Come to that realization and get out and start healing….thats what I’m trying to do.

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