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Willful Desertion as Grounds for Divorce

14/08/13 9:00 AM

Upset Teenage Girl With Friends Gossiping In Background

When one person decides to file for divorce, some states require that this person have a legal reason for filing for divorce. This type of divorce is referred to as fault-based divorce, in which one spouse is responsible for the breakdown of the marriage.  When there are grounds for divorce, the process is much simpler and quicker than if there are no grounds for divorce, for instance when dealing with a no-fault divorce.  One grounds for divorce is willful desertion. While you can file for a no-fault divorce in the state of Connecticut, willful desertion is one type of grounds for divorce accepted in the state.

Willful desertion is considered grounds for divorce because it is the abandonment of one spouse by another. Willful desertion is defined as “the willful absenting of one party to the marriage contract from the society of the other, coupled with the intention on the part of the absenting party to live apart, in spite of the wish of the other, and not to return to cohabitation,” (Casale v. Casale, 138 Conn. 490, 492, 86 A.2d 568 (1952)).  As opposed to separation, in which two spouses live apart but they both give their consent to do so, willful desertion occurs when one spouse decides to live apart from his or her spouse despite the fact that the other spouse does not want to. Likewise, if your spouse no longer lives with you due to incarceration or some kind of forced separation, it is not considered willful desertion. The desertion by your spouse must be voluntary in order for you to make a case for willful desertion as grounds for divorce.

Willful desertion can be considered cause for divorce in the following situations: “(1) cessation from cohabitation; (2) an intention on the part of the absenting party not to resume it; (3) the absence of the other party’s consent; and (4) absence of justification,” (Gannon v. Gannon, 130 Conn. 449, 450, 35 A.2d 204 (1943)).  Keep in mind that in order to receive a divorce based on willful desertion, you must be able to prove the desertion in court. This means you must prove each of the elements listed above in order to make a case for willful desertion in court. In order to prove willful desertion as grounds for divorce, you will need evidence of the desertion.

If you believe that you have been willful deserted, you deserve a divorce. In order to build evidence and prove your case in court, it is in your best interest to hire an experienced divorce attorney. Divorce attorneys are familiar with at-fault divorce cases and can therefore guide you during the divorce process to ensure that you are able to build a strong case. Our initial consultation is always free and we can answer your questions about divorce before you make the final decision. Together, we can make the right decisions concerning your case to make this process cheaper and easier.

Posted by Peter McGuinness | in Grounds for Divorce | Comments Off

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