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Abandonment and Divorce

Dallas Divorce Attorneys Representing Parties in Dissolution Actions

When people marry, they typically vow to stay together forever. Some people fail to keep their promises, though, and permanently leave their spouse and marital home. In such cases, the spouse left behind may be able to obtain a divorce on the grounds of abandonment. Proving abandonment can be challenging, however, and typically benefits from the assistance of a skilled attorney. If you have questions regarding abandonment and divorce under Texas law, it is smart to consult an attorney experienced in handling family-law matters. The assertive Dallas divorce attorneys of McClure Law Group have ample experience handling fault-based divorces, and we can help gather the evidence needed to aid you in pursuing a ruling in your favor.

Abandonment and Divorce in Texas

The Texas Family Code (the “Code”) sets forth the grounds for dissolving a marriage. One of the enumerated causes is abandonment. The Code defines abandonment as one spouse leaving the other with the intention of abandoning them and remaining away for a minimum of one year. In other words, if a spouse is away from the marital home for business purposes or due to other valid reasons like military deployment, their absence will not be considered abandonment. Additionally, the one-year period must be continuous; if the abandoning spouse returned on occasion, the clock would begin to run anew each time they came back.

Establishing abandonment can be difficult, as it requires the party seeking a divorce to demonstrate their estranged spouse’s intent in leaving and definitively prove how long they have been gone. They must also show that they did not mutually agree that their spouse would leave or that they would separate while they resolved issues or proceeded with a dissolution action. If the party that left continues to provide financial support or contributions to their spouse, the courts may decline to rule that there is evidence of abandonment.

How Abandonment Impacts Divorce Proceedings

In any divorce action filed in Texas, the petitioning spouse must serve the responding spouse with a copy of the petition for dissolution and any proposed parenting plan or property settlement. There are multiple ways to complete service of process, including having a process server, sheriff, or constable serve the papers.

Service of process is a critical part of any divorce action, and the courts will not proceed with the divorce until the responding party has been served. In cases involving abandonment, however, the petitioning spouse may be unable to locate the responding spouse, or the responding spouse may attempt to avoid service. In such instances, the petitioning spouse can request that the court permit them to use alternate methods of service, such as service by publication.

After service is complete, the responding spouse must file a response by the first Monday that falls after 20 days from the date of service of process. If they fail to file a response by that time, the petitioning spouse can move for a default judgment. If the default judgment is granted, the court will decide issues such as property division and child custody without any input from the abandoning spouse.

Meet With a Seasoned Dallas Lawyer to Discuss Your Case

If a person leaves their spouse and fails to return, the party left behind may be able to seek a fault-based divorce on the grounds of abandonment. If your spouse left you and you intend to legally end your marriage, it is advisable to contact an attorney to discuss abandonment and divorce. The seasoned Dallas lawyers of McClure Law Group are proficient at helping people fight to protect their interests in divorce cases, and if we represent you, we will advocate aggressively on your behalf. We frequently represent people in fault-based divorce actions in Dallas, Rockwall, Fort Worth, Frisco, Irving, McKinney, Richardson, and Garland. We also aid parties with family-law issues in cities in Dallas, Rockwall, Collin, Denton, Tarrant, and Grayson Counties. You can contact us through our online form or by calling 214.692.8200 to set up a confidential meeting.

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