Don’t Just “Get on the Bus, Gus”

Simon and Garfunkel wrote a popular song called “Fifty Ways to Leave Your Lover.” That may be true for lovers, but for married folks there is only really one way – the right way. And that does not mean walking out the door.

Abandonment, which is also called desertion, is a fault ground for divorce in some jurisdictions.

It not the same as leaving the marital home as part of a trial separation to “sort out feelings,” or moving out as part of a permanent separation undertaken in preparation for filing a divorce at a later date.

Abandonment means one spouse leaves the other without cause and without permission. Depending upon the jurisdiction, the missing spouse must be gone for six months to a year before the departure is considered abandonment.

No one can legally end a marriage, even a common law marriage, just be walking out the door. A person who abandons his or her spouse and children may find arguing for custody of the children later is much more difficult.

People who want to end a marriage should, to borrow again from Simon and Garfunkel, “make a new plan, Stan.” Walking out the door makes the divorce that very often happens later anyway even more difficult.

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