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What is Considered Abandonment in Marriage? Is Divorce Pending? Which Spouse Keeps the Dog?


Do you look sad when you look in the mirror?


What does Abandon Mean?

"What is considered Abandonment in Marriage?" While the facets of this word are wide and deep and will likely produce enough content to span over several hub articles in order to address them all, I will brave the attempt to answer this question here today. Let's first examine the meaning of the word Abandon. The Funk and Wagner dictionary states that to abandon is to 'give up wholly; desert; forsake or to giveover to without restraint as with an emotion. An utter surrender to one's feelings or natural impulses.' To be abandoned means to be forsaken or deserted as to give up hope on someone or something. And what about this word Forsake? Expanding the above meaning to renounce or relinquish (as in marriage). It also means to repudiate or deny. I find it peculiar that the word right above the word forsake in the dictionary is fornicate. HMMMMM. Interesting happenstance.


For Example, What Constitutes Abandonment in Texas?

A Frisco law firm states on their website, "Abandonment can simply be when one spouse leaves the house with the intention to never return. Other factors can also influence the court’s decision, such as a failure to provide financial support or engage in sexual intercourse without justifiable reason. Instances of abuse and cruelty can also be taken into consideration in an abandonment case. In Texas you can file for divorce, stating abandonment as the reason, if your spouse left with the intention of abandonment and has been gone for at least one year. However, if a spouse leaves the house for safety or emotional reasons during a divorce, this does not constitute abandonment. If a spouse leaves the home and the state they are likely to lose their rights to custody."

Sometimes Abandonment Feels Like an Emptiness Never Felt Before


Another Example of Variances: Maryland Laws Governing Abandonment

Maryland Laws for Abandonment

Maryland is a state with very specific requirements for divorce. If a couple intends to divorce in Maryland, they must live apart for one year or give a reason they should be granted a divorce. One common reason listed by Divorcenet.com is abandonment or desertion. To file for divorce on the grounds of abandonment or desertion in Maryland, specific requirements must be met.

Abandonment: One common reason for divorce in Maryland is abandonment or desertion. A spouse is considered abandoned if the other partner physically leaves the marital home without any intention of returning or continuing the marriage. It is also considered abandonment if one spouse voluntarily leaves the marital home for more than two years for any reason.

Constructive Desertion

Maryland recognizes a type of desertion other than physical desertion. According to DivorceSupport.com, a constructive desertion is when one spouse forces the other spouse to leave the marital home through intolerable behavior. This can include physical or verbal abuse, refusal of sexual intercourse, cruelty or other behavior determined to be constructive desertion by a court.

Missing Spouse

If a spouse has abandoned his or her partner and cannot be found, Maryland recognizes a default divorce. In this type of divorce, the abandoned partner can sign the divorce papers without consent of the missing partner.

When I think of abandonment, I think in terms of three aspects: The legal, emotional, and physical aspects of the word. The legal aspect requires interpretation of terms for a situation governing that of property or marriage dissolution in a given jurisdiction involving the physical abandonment of a property or a relationship such as a marriage. The emotional aspect of abandonment can be both physical and psychological. It is when a person forgoes being emotionally available to another person and shuts them off. That happens often in the lives of children where communication levels with parents are emotionally absent. Unfortunately, these children fail to learn how to effectively process a variety of emotions becoming dysfunctional adults related to marital stress and extreme divorce rates especially in the United States.

Why Do People Abandon?

People seem to abandon things for many reasons, but mostly out of the lack of ability to control a situation or lack of ability to care for something. The lack of control can be financially, physically or psychologically based. The state of mind that promotes giving up hope like the abandonment of a property for lack of ability pay the mortgage or the lack of ability to properly care for a child in perhaps a homeless or abusing situation. The inability to continue to care for a pet thereby giving it up for adoption. The abandonment of a marriage can take more time to develop. The first stage of abandonment is the detachment of feelings towards another person that is to be abandoned. That person will act as though they do not care about the person that is being forsaken and soon to be deserted. After the emotional feelings have processed enough for the human psyche to withstand the decision, the physical actions of abandonment will follow suit.

Relationships Can Loose Spark and lead to Abandonment

We live in 'a throw away' society as many have declared. We lack loyalty and quickly dispose of things that no longer hold our interests or cease providing immediate pleasure. Relationships tend to loose that special spark over a period of time causing spouses to treat each other with disdain or indifference which can ultimately lead to infidelity and abandonment. The choice to satisfy feelings by instant gratification with someone other than your spouse to get that feeling of excitement back into your life is a bad choice indeed. The need for something new can be quenched with other things in life like re-igniting that special spark once again before doing something to cause distrust and brokenness. Some people have this pressing desire more than others; especially if that person is carrying around baggage from previous relationships in life or is emotionally immature. Let's face it, most of us fit into this category. It takes a personal commitment and desire to grow up and face the realities of life. It is just another day in paradise as I have heard more than once. I believe this quote is meant to remind us that we are to live our life with the eternal anticipation of the promise given to us through our savior, Jesus. Some days this promise is all we have to hang onto in this realm of existence.

Life exists after abandonment and divorce: SEEK A SUPPORT GROUP

If you are reading this hub and are a victim of Abandonment, I would highly recommend seeking the connection of a local support group. You may not feel that you need one nor that a support group can help you. I know because that is exactly what I thought too. However, let go of the pride and go to listen. If the first one does nothing to help you feel connected, try another. It may take going more than once to understand how you will help others with your story and how they will help you in return. Bless you in your journey. There is life after abandonment and divorce, I promise.

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When Have You Been Abandoned? Can you save the relationship?

You have been abandoned in a relationship when another person no longer cares about your well being to include: feelings, financial welfare, and health. This person also disconnects with you emotionally and/or no longer communicates. If your spouse moves out of the residence and no longer continues a marital relationship by choice thereby residing elsewhere, it can be legally declared as abandonment. States differ in the legal definition of terms of abandonment. I have sited two specific states and provided websites as examples for the states of Texas and Maryland.

I have witnessed situations where spouses have physically moved out but continued to come home to see children and participate in marital relations. This is hurtful to everyone involved. The children are confused not knowing whether mommy and daddy are together or apart and spouses are on an emotional roller coaster that is usually on a path of destruction. There is always the question as to, "Who keeps the dog?" Unless there is an abusive situation; it is always best to remain together if there is any chance of saving a marriage by working through the issues and getting professional help if needed in order to effectively communicate. Sometimes, there is too much emotion to try to work it out without professional intervention. Anger breeds bitter feelings that in turn cause resentment. It is hard to resolve issues when resentment stands in the way of healing. It takes commitment on the higest level to agree to save the marriage or friendship whatever the case may be. Commitment takes courage and the decision to push through the pain of effective communication into a better relationship with your marriage partner or special friend. Relationships take hard work, nothing in life stays easy all the time. Most things that are worth holding onto take hard work and Commitment.



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Restoration of an Abandoned Relationship

For several years I facilitated a divorce recovery support group that I started in my community. I started this support group as a means of giving back since I personally experienced the pain and recovery process of people going through the devastation of divorce. I discovered the value of being connected to others who can relate and understand how I was feeling. While in divorce recovery myself, my support group helped me tremendously to cope with feelings of failure. I found the most prevalent topic of conversation in both support groups to be abandonment since most in attendance were victims of abandonment in one way or another. Abandonment victims were left to maintain the primary residence. One spouse deserted the relationship and their responsibilities, in some cases the financial support. Though, prior to the actual physical act; there is always emotional detachment takes place. Once gone, it is hard to get the trust back since it requires concerted effort on both sides to come to new terms. The act of abandonment makes effective communication a monumental task in relationships that have broken. With emotions running high, it requires extreme commitment by all to work through the grievances and come to common grounds of acceptance. Unfortunately when abandonment happens, the emotional pain tends to be so great: it is difficult without professional intervention to restore the trust and agree to commitment in order to save the relationship.

Restoration of something that was once a cherished possession does have a chance of survival. Unless there is areas of spousal abuse, I believe a lot marriages could be restored. Even when the abandoning spouse has sought comfort in the physical or emotional arms of another, there is a chance of forgiveness and restoration of commitment. KEY POINT: It has been my experience over and over again that relationships of the opposite sex, proclaimed innocent or not, seem to lead to an emotional bond and then to physical infidelity given enough time to develop. The only way for a marriage to be restored in this instance is when both spouses agree that there will be no one else that will share initimate emotional and physical communication other that each other in order to move forward to re-establish trust and heal the relationship based on commitment to a mutual goal. At this point It has to be an 'all in' proposition, there is no room for negotiation on this matter.


And Who Keeps the Dog?

At the end of the day...who feeds the dog, walks the dog, takes the dog to the vet? Who cares for the dog on a daily basis? This is the one who should keep the dog. Forget....oh who bought who a present of a dog. Using the dog as a tool is just plain wrong.

The person who gets the dog should be the daily caregiver. If that person cannot afford the animal, there should be monetary settlement its care. Afterall, the dog does require ongoing food and vet meds. Work it out in the divorce agreement.

What The Bible Says about Abandonment:

Isaiah 40:11 - He will feed his flock like a shepherd. He will carry the lambs in his arms, holding them close to His heart. he will gently lead the mother sheep with their young.

Ezra 9:9 - For we were slaves, but in His unfailing love our God did not abandon us in our slavery. Instead, he caused the kings of Persia to treat us unfavorably, He revived us so the that we were able to rebuild the Temple of our God and repair its ruins

Psalm 27:10 - Even if my father and mother abandon me, the Lord will hold me close.

Good News : We are not Forsaken, Abandoned or Forgotten; but Loved for who we are by He who Is and who is to come.

That my friends is a promise that can sustain us. Our bodies are the temples that we will rebuild and our hearts repair from the devastation of abandonment. We can be assured that our God will never abandon us or forsake us. Look to God for your affirmation, not your spouse or significant other.  Only God can assure you of who you really are in His eyes.

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lsilva on July 13, 2012:

thank you!

Golfgal (author) from McKinney, Texas on March 31, 2011:

Thanks toknowinfo, I appreciate your positive affirmation and appreciate the vote. Hope you visit again soon.

toknowinfo on March 31, 2011:

Well done hub about a tough emotional topic. Rated up and useful.

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