The answer depends on what the reason for the separation is. Are you and your spouse separating with the intention of working together to attempt a reconciliation? Have you both agreed to seek a divorce? Did your spouse unilaterally decide to move out?
If you and your spouse have agreed to divorce or separation that leads to divorce, you will likely seek the divorce on a no-fault basis. A no-fault divorce means that no blame is placed on either party.
In the latter case, if your spouse moves out and is absent from your home for at least one consecutive year, you are eligible to file for an at-fault divorce on the grounds of abandonment. An at-fault divorce claims that one party is responsible for the marriage’s failure and can have serious effects on the outcomes of divorce proceedings.
If your spouse has abandoned you and/or your family a judge although not required to, may take that into consideration when making determinations regarding any spousal support or custody arrangements. The party is accused of abandonment is responsible for proving that they are not at fault.
It is also important to keep in mind that even if your spouse moves out, they may still have legal rights to the property. This complicates matters insofar as determining responsibility for upkeep, maintenance, and paying bills; as well as concerns about rights to privacy for the party still living in the house.
If you are filing for divorce on the grounds of abandonment, or if you have been accused of abandonment by your spouse and would like to discuss your rights, please call our Akron divorce attorneys to make an appointment to discuss your potential divorce. Call us at 330-922-4491 or contact us online so that we can schedule you for an initial consultation.