fault based divorce is rare, particularly when willful abandonment is at issue, but a spouse who has been left to fend for herself with the children does have recourse. It is important in such a case that the abandoned party work with a College Station divorce attorney.
Willful Abandonment Defined
Willful abandonment involves the act of one spouse deserting the other with the intention of ending the marriage. When children are involved, the abandonment brings about de facto custody. This means that the circumstances of desertion brought about a situation in which one spouse has custody. De facto custody can be useful when the custodial spouse sues for divorce, for it suggests that the best interests of the children would be to limit the deserting parent’s custodial rights.
Willful Abandonment and Texas Divorce
While a party can sue for divorce on a fault ground in Texas, the ability to do so is quite limited. Most divorces granted in Texas are no-fault in nature. It is possible to divorce on the grounds of abandonment in this state, but the absent party must remain so for at least one full year. Also, the abandoned party must be able to convince the court that the desertion was committed specifically in order that she be left to fend for herself.
During the year waiting period the abandoned party/petitioner can begin to litigate the issue of child custody with a Suit Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship. By doing so the petitioner may increase her chances of winning a custody battle and child support order.
Spousal Support and Division of the Marital Estate
Because Texas is a community property state, the general rule is to divide the property equally between the two divorcing spouses. In a willful abandonment case, however, since marital misconduct can be argued the court may make an adjustment to this division in favor of the abandoned party. Regarding spousal support, Texas tends not to award alimony except under unusual circumstances. If the affected party is able to obtain spousal support at all, it will almost certainly be for a very limited time and will not exceed 20% of the other spouse’s income. Child support, on the other hand, almost certainly would be awarded to the custodial parent.
For Legal Representation in an Abandonment Case
It is important that you retain a Brian divorce attorney if you plan to seek a fault-based divorce on the grounds of willful abandonment. Call Peterson Law Group today at 979-703-7014 or 936-337-4681.