Tennessee state laws divorce abandment issues

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Search Term. Child Desertion and Abandonment. Desertion or Abandonment The crime of child desertion or child abandonment occurs when a legally responsible adult leaves a child with the intention to abandon him or her. Exposure to danger or injury Some abandonment or desertion laws apply to any situation where an adult caregiver exposes a child to danger or hazards, though these laws do not require that the child actually be injured or suffer a harm.

Age Desertion and abandonment laws often state a specific age. Possible Defenses The defenses available in any criminal situation differ from case to case. Abandoned Infant Protection Laws Some states have enacted laws that allow parents to abandon a newborn child without committing an abandonment crime. Possible Penalties Because states have significantly different child desertion and abandonment laws, the possible penalties involved for anyone convicted of these crimes differ substantially.

Anytime you are convicted of a misdemeanor or felony offense, you face the possibility of having to serve an incarceration sentence.


A misdemeanor conviction might lead to up to a year or more in jail, while a felony conviction can bring a punishment of 10 years or more in a state prison. For example, someone convicted of desertion of a child under the age of 10 in Oklahoma faces no less than one year and no more than 10 years in prison. Fines for desertion or abandonment also differ significantly among states.

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Someone convicted of an abandonment crime might also be sentenced to a period of probation. Probation usually lasts from about 12 months to as long as five years, though lengthier sentences are sometimes possible. People on probation will have their personal freedoms significantly limited, and must comply with specific probation conditions.

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These conditions often include, for example, reporting to a probation officer, paying all court costs and fines, maintaining employment, seeking mental health counseling, and performing community service. Find a Lawyer in Your Area If investigators have questioned you about a possible child abandonment or desertion situation, you need to speak to a criminal defense lawyer near you as soon as possible. Talk to a Lawyer. Start here to find criminal defense lawyers near you.


Practice Area Please select Zip Code. How it Works Briefly tell us about your case Provide your contact information Choose attorneys to contact you. However, spousal abandonment is the second leading cause of fault divorce. A spouse can claim abandonment if the other spouse has left without discussion or any plans for support and payments for mortgages and other necessities. A divorce based on abandonment cannot be filed immediately following the act of desertion. Most states require that an entire year has passed since the abandoning spouse has disappeared from the marital home.

If the deserting spouse returns home within that time period, the clock starts again from the beginning. It may also be necessary to prove that the abandoned spouse did not cause the abandonment through abuse, infidelity, or refusal to engage in conjugal relations. For that reason, some abandoned spouses may prefer to initiate a no-fault divorce. Spousal abandonment frequently leads to child abandonment. However, it does not automatically waive parental rights. Courts recognize that biological parents have a fundamental right to see their children.

With those rights come fundamental and legal obligations. Regardless of the level of parental involvement, parents have a right to make decisions regarding their children, especially regarding medical and other important matters. Courts are very hesitant to curtail or terminate parental rights, even in the case of spousal abandonment. To be considered an absent and uninvolved parent requires that said parent have no contact with the child anywhere from several months to a year. Missing a few visitations or support payments does not equal child abandonment. In some states, the time period can be up to two years.

But this does not mean automatic loss of parental rights. A parent has an obligation to care and provide for his or her children. When this does not happen, the custodial parent usually the abandoned spouse can petition the court for sole custody and termination of parental rights of the abandoning spouse and parent.

Usually, courts do this only in extreme cases.

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Property rights in cases of marital abandonment vary from state to state. While the abandoning spouse has not officially forfeited any property rights, he or she has lost the right to make decisions about any abandoned real and personal property. The abandoned spouse has the right of occupancy, which makes any negotiation regarding division of property difficult as the abandoning spouse has lost a great deal of bargaining power. If the abandoned spouse has been paying all bills and mortgages, he or she can make a persuasive case that the abandoning spouse has lost all equity rights to the marital property.

When a couple experiences marital problems, one or both of them may wonder if leaving the marital home constitutes spousal abandonment. However, there is a huge difference between abandonment and separation. If a spouse voluntarily leaves the home following an agreed-upon separation, it is not spousal abandonment.

Simply because a couple separates for a while to consider the state of their marriage does not affect the legal rights of either individual, and it is not grounds for divorce.

The act of abandonment must cover a period of time, usually a year, and must be permanent. Storming out of the front door following an argument is not considered spousal abandonment. Spousal abandonment is a lengthy process, where the abandoning spouse leaves for no reason and during his or her absence refuses to pay support.

A spouse fleeing from violence and abuse is not considered to have abandoned his or her spouse. Leaving the marital home, even legally, may affect future custody negotiations, however.

No-Fault Abandonment

If one parent has physically left his or her children for a considerable length of time, a court may not consider this person a fit parent and grant sole custody to the remaining parent. In some states, even if a man remains in the same house but does not support his family, the court may consider this constructive abandonment and consider it as grounds for divorce.

There are times when a marriage irretrievably falls apart through no real fault of either party. The urge to just walk away from a bad situation can be strong. In the end, however, spousal abandonment can cause more problems than it may solve. If a marriage has reached the state where communication is no longer possible, a legal separation as a route to a divorce is invariably the better course of action. Trusted by more than , people. What Is Spousal Abandonment?

Financial Effects of Spousal Abandonment Both the abandoned spouse, as well as the abandoning spouse, will feel the financial effects of spousal abandonment. Emotional Effects of Abandonment One day, you and your spouse are celebrating an anniversary or enjoying a special dinner out. Spousal Abandonment and Divorce These days, all states recognize no-fault divorces. Abandonment and Child Custody Spousal abandonment frequently leads to child abandonment. Spousal Abandonment and Property Rights Property rights in cases of marital abandonment vary from state to state. How to Leave the Marital Home Without Abandonment When a couple experiences marital problems, one or both of them may wonder if leaving the marital home constitutes spousal abandonment.

Child Desertion and Abandonment

Conclusion There are times when a marriage irretrievably falls apart through no real fault of either party. Posted in Blogs. Read More Blog Posts.