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What if the separation is not voluntary? What if the husband just leaves?

Sometimes when a marriage is failing, one spouse just leaves, and tells the other he or she will not be back. This in itself does not meet the ground of abandonment or desertion because many couples have up and down marriages punctuated by these less then formal departures. These are people who cannot live together but they cannot live apart.

However, in those states that still have abandonment or desertion as grounds for divorce such a departure would be considered abandonment or desertion. Some states have laws saying that if one spouse has moved out, it demonstrates an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage, sufficient for a divorce.

On its face, moreover, if the husband or wife moves out and refuses to return, one could safely say that the marriage is on its last legs.