If my wife abandoned do I have to pay for spousal support? 21 Answers as of May 25, 2011

My wife went on a trip 8 weeks ago. After 3 weeks she notified my daughter she won't be back she wanted to get a divorce. Doesn’t that mean she abandoned the kids and me? Will she have any right to support or draw on my retirement wage?

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Reeves Law Firm, P.C.
Reeves Law Firm, P.C. | Roy L. Reeves
Abandonment is a basis for divorce on "fault" grounds. You can use the grounds to ask for a disproportionate settlement of the community estate. As for the retirement account, there are issues at play here, Texas is community property, there is an assumption the retirement earned during the marriage is community and her abandonment does not change the character of the property. However, if she wants the divorce and she will agree to waive that interest, then she may do so. Spousal support is another complicated issue. There is no assumption she will get spousal support post divorce. If she does ask, you can claim abandonment as a defense, but if she is qualified and meets the statutory limitations, she can ask even if she is at fault. Bottom line, do not wait, get a lawyer sooner rather than later. Get your documents in order, and get your case put together. You may want to consider filing for the divorce yourself, particularly if she wants it now. You can file and while she is thinking whatever it is that made her run away, get your case settled. I handle cases like this one in Dallas County and Collin County. If you are in this area, please let me know. I would like to get more information.
Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 5/25/2011
Seattle Divorce Services
Seattle Divorce Services | Michael V. Fancher
Under Washington law it does not matter who left who. The court will divide community property and that includes retirement benefits earned during the marriage. One of you may be entitled to spousal support (depending on various factors including the relative incomes) and you may be entitled to child support.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 5/25/2011
Cody and Gonillo, LLP
Cody and Gonillo, LLP | Christine Gonilla
Spouses have is a duty to support and the facts as they play out will be taken into account during the proceedings.
Answer Applies to: Connecticut
Replied: 5/24/2011
Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser
Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser | Donald F. Conviser
What you call "abandonment" of you, the law refers to as "separation". The fact that your wife separated from you does not affect her rights to Spousal Support or her share of the Community Property. Essentially all divorces begin with some form of separation. If your wife has stopped seeing your minor children, you should seek the sole custody of your children, as well as Child Support.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 5/24/2011
Law Office of L. Paul Zahn
Law Office of L. Paul Zahn | Paul Zahn
In California, there is no penalty for "abandonment" as this is a no fault divorce state. Support is based upon the earnings of the parties and child support is based upon that plus the visitation schedule and other relevant factors. Your wife does not waive her interest in your retirement by leaving. If you are in my area and are looking for an attorney, please contact me for a free consultation.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 5/24/2011
    Law Office of Curry & Westgate
    Law Office of Curry & Westgate | Patrick Curry
    You need to hire a family law attorney and get to court to obtain the orders that you want.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/24/2011
    Michael Anthony Wing, P.C.
    Michael Anthony Wing, P.C. | Michael Anthony Wing
    There are too many other variables for the court to consider to give you a definite answer. The court will also consider reasons for the breakdown of the marriage and length of marriage. Stay well.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 5/24/2011
    Theodore W. Robinson, P.C.
    Theodore W. Robinson, P.C. | Theodore W. Robinson
    In NY, although she abandoned you, she will still have a right to equitable division of marital assets, such as a pension or 401(k) plan assets and she may have some right to maintenance, however, that may be limited by the fact that she left you. Speak to a competent divorce lawyer as soon as possible for further information.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 5/24/2011
    Howard W. Collins, Attorney at Law
    Howard W. Collins, Attorney at Law | Howard W. Collins
    It certainly sounds as if your wife has decided to stay away from your family home. She has left you in place as the custodial parent of your daughter and other children. Leaving does not cause her to lose any property rights, such as an interest in the equity you may have in your home, savings accounts, marital property or retirement accounts. She may be on the hook for child support. Spousal support is based upon a whole different set of criteria so there is no answer without more facts. As it stands right now, you have the children, you are living in the family home and she is gone. When you or she decides to file for a divorce, the court will have jurisdiction over all these issue and decide them if you and your wife cannot reach agreement. If you think you might reconcile with your wife, since it is still early in the separation, I would not get too worked up. But if you decide that divorce is the answer, than I would get going on it to secure your position as the custodial parent, to obtain child support, and to minimize her interest in the equity of the marital assets. In other words, the longer you wait and the larger the size of your marital equity, the more she can claim. I hope this helps. Call to discuss.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 5/24/2011
    Edwin Fahlen Attorney at Law
    Edwin Fahlen Attorney at Law | Edwin Fahlen
    Since California is a "no fault" state, she may be able to obtain spousal support from you, depending on the incomes, life style during the marriage, and other factors. However it appears she left the children with you so you may obtain child support. You should obtain competent legal counsel to guide you through the divorce, and that is exactly what we do here at this office.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/24/2011
    Law Office of Robert L. Fiedler
    Law Office of Robert L. Fiedler | Robert L Fiedler
    While your questions may seem simple, the answers are always more complex. There is a legal definition of abandonment and I don't believe that it would apply to your case at the present time. Should she want alimony or a claim against your retirement, she would have to return here to fight for it.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 5/24/2011
    Glenn E. Tanner
    Glenn E. Tanner | Glenn E. Tanner
    It depends on many factors - incomes, need, other assets and debts. If the children are still dependent, she'll owe you for child support.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 5/24/2011
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    Spousal Support is based on a number of factors including the length of marriage and the earning capacity of each party. AS a general rule, leaving the marriage will not impact whether spousal support is paid. Asseets including interests in retirement accounts, will be divided if accrued during the marriage.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 5/24/2011
    The Davies Law Firm, P.A.
    The Davies Law Firm, P.A. | Robert F. Davies, Esq.
    You absolutely have to talk to a divorce attorney and get some help. This is a complicated mess, and there is a lot to talk about. Give me a call, make an appointment to come see me, and let's get moving on this for you. No charge for the first office visit. I know people worry about how expensive a lawyer is, so I am careful to be as inexpensive as I can for my clients. Before you spend a dime, you will know how much this is likely to be.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 5/24/2011
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law | John Kirchner
    The answer to your questions require far more information and time than is possible in this format. Spousal support (alimony) depends on an overall assessment of the financial situation and the length of the marriage and there are no hard and fast rules. You need to consult an attorney who can assist you in understanding the legal principles and how they might apply in your case.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 5/24/2011
    Goolsby Law Office
    Goolsby Law Office | Richard Goolsby
    I would recommend that you retain a divorce lawyer as soon as possible. Discuss with your divorce attorney the issue of raising abandonment as it relates to issues of alimony and child custody. Good luck!
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 5/24/2011
    Law Office of John C. Volz
    Law Office of John C. Volz | John C. Volz
    Yes, your wife will be entitled to support and a portion of your retirement. California is a no fault state so there is no abandonment. If your wife left the children with you, this could be a factor as to determining custody and visitation. Any spousal support could be reduced by the amount of child support she would have to pay you.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/24/2011
    Van Der Jagt Law Firm
    Van Der Jagt Law Firm | Grant Van Der Jagt
    Each state has its own rules regarding abandonment. They are usually based on several factors which requires a degree of judgment, thus no attorney should answer your question in absolute terms. The critical question, however, should have been whether she has abandoned her domicile, which is a major factor in determining jurisdiction, which in turn affects child custody (parental rights and responsibilities). In Colorado, domicile is achieved by living here 90 days. If she has lived elsewhere for 90 days, she may have domicile there, and thus, not in Colorado. I only practice in Colorado, so give us a call if you are also in Colorado.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 5/24/2011
    Arnold & Wadsworth
    Arnold & Wadsworth | Brian Arnold
    You will need to get temporary orders making her pay child support according to a child support calculator.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 5/24/2011
    Berner Law Group, PLLC
    Berner Law Group, PLLC | Jack Berner
    If your matter is taking place in Washington, then her leaving for 8 weeks does not automatically disqualify her from being able to request spousal maintenance nor does it constitute a waiver of any assets she may be entitled to from the marriage. If you reside in Western Washington, feel free to contact my office to set up a free, initial consultation-by phone or in person-to discuss your situation. You need aggressive representation now.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 5/24/2011
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