Spousal Abandonment in Tennessee

If you are abandoned by your spouse, do you know what your rights are? Call Judy Oxford, Attorney at Law today.

Being left by your spouse can be an emotional experience that leaves you with a lot of questions about your marriage and the future. You may be thinking about divorce. In Tennessee, parties can seek a divorce based on irreconcilable differences if they are able to agree on all the terms of a divorce. But if your spouse has left and will not communicate with you, or if you do not know where your spouse is, or some other reason, you can seek divorce based on fault grounds. In our state, abandonment is one of the fault-based grounds for divorce. If you are needing a lawyer to assist you regarding filing for divorce, call me, Judy Oxford, Attorney at Law, today.

What is Spousal Abandonment?

The term ‘spousal abandonment’ could mean different things to different people in different contexts, but in the context of grounds for divorce under Tennessee law, abandonment is a situation in which:

“The husband or wife has abandoned the spouse or turned the spouse out of doors without just cause, and has refused or neglected to provide for the spouse while having the ability to do so.”

Notice that the statute does not include an amount of time or duration for which the period of abandonment must persist before a party has grounds for this type of fault-based divorce.

Another ground for divorce in our state is:

“Willful or malicious desertion or absence of either party, without a reasonable cause, for one whole year.”

This means that if your spouse has been away or deserted you for one year or longer without cause, you have grounds for this type of fault-based divorce. Refusing the other spouse’s offer of reconciliation can be deemed “desertion” in certain situations.

Proving Spousal Abandonment

If you pursue a divorce on any fault-based grounds, you will have to prove the fault of your spouse – you cannot merely allege that they abandoned you or deserted you without providing evidence. Your testimony can be evidence. However, you may need to call on witnesses like neighbors and family members who can testify to the fact that your spouse left. You may also need to produce some sort of evidence indicating that you tried to get in contact with your spouse at some point since they left.

What are the Advantages of Filing a Divorce on Fault Grounds?

When both spouses have not signed appropriate settlement documents, then you will be required to prove your fault grounds, or have a stipulation of fault on the part of at least one of the spouses, in order for the court to grant a divorce. Depending on the circumstances of your case, there may be an advantage to have a divorce based on fault grounds. For example, the judge may look more favorably on you throughout the divorce proceedings if your spouse abandoned you and your children and you have proof of it, such that it could be very unlikely that the judge would award your spouse child custody.

Call Judy Oxford, Attorney at Law, Today

I can sympathize with how challenging it must be to be a victim of spousal abandonment. If you have been abandoned by your spouse and want to file for a divorce, I can help. Please call me directly today or send me a message to get started.