Abandoned/separated

My husband told me he will be leaving. He listed the household bills and plan to get things turned off unless its transferred into my name. He wants me to take over expenses starting next month. There is no separation agreement in place. Can he just stop paying expenses? He’s the primary provider and I’m his dependent with limited income. Is this considered abandonment even though he has mention leaving the house to separate? I don’t have a lawyer because we only share our home plus affordability is a issue. I know alimony is debatable for spousal support since his income is from VA Disability (100% permanent and total). If he does leave, what rights do I have at this point?

Yes, he can move out and stop paying the bills, however, if he is the supporting spouse, it would not be a wise decision for him to make and you could use that against him in court.

It could still be abandonment if he leaves the marital residence without justification, without your consent/agreement, and without the intent of renewing the cohabitation. Abandonment is a type of marital misconduct.

If he moves out of the marital residence and does not help you with expenses, assuming you are the dependent spouse and he is the supporting spouse, you could file a lawsuit against him for the claims of equitable distribution (property division), postseparation support, and alimony. If you have minor children, you could also file claims for child custody and child support.


Anna Ayscue

Attorney with Rosen Law Firm Cary • Chapel Hill • Durham • Raleigh • Wake Forest

Rosen Online | Unlimited confidential access to a North Carolina attorney for $199/mo - click here

The response posted above is based upon the limited factual information made available and is not intended as a full and complete response to the question. The only reliable manner to obtain complete and adequate legal advice is to consult with an attorney, fully explain your situation, and allow the attorney sufficient opportunity to research the applicable law and facts required to render an accurate opinion. The basic information provided above is intended as a public service only, a full discussion with an attorney should be undertaken before taking any action. The information posted on this forum is available for public viewing and is not intended to create an attorney client relationship with any individual. These answers are provided for informational purposes only, a person should consult with their own individual legal counsel before taking any action that could affect their legal rights or obligations.

Could you please explain “without justification, without your consent/agreement, and without the intent of renewing the cohabitation”? Such as what justifications; there’s no consent or an agreement between us. He’s strictly doing this because of the need to be separated for the one-year requirement. Can I have him to help pay the mortgage now or does that have to be done through court actions. Also, if he leaves any of his personal items, such as clothes and/or personal care items or coming into the house periodically does that still constitute him as living there and if so could that be used as him still residing there?

A spouse is justified in leaving the marriage, for abandonment purposes, when he or she cannot continue the marital relationship with safety, health, and self-respect.

A spouse leaving the marriage could have abandoned the marriage if he/she leaves without the other spouse’s consent or agreement, however, this is not a requirement to obtain an absolute divorce.

Without the intent of renewing the cohabitation is when a spouse leaves the marriage with the intent to remain permanently separate and apart.

Yes, you can negotiate that he pay the mortgage during this separation period without needing to go to court.

No, if he leaves his personal items or clothes in the marital residence or periodically comes and goes, that does not count as him living there if he is not spending the night there and using the marital residence as his residence. However, if you have separated and he moved out, then he should not be returning to the marital residence without your permission. He could be guilty of the misdemeanor crime of domestic criminal trespass.


Anna Ayscue

Attorney with Rosen Law Firm Cary • Chapel Hill • Durham • Raleigh • Wake Forest

Rosen Online | Unlimited confidential access to a North Carolina attorney for $199/mo - click here

The response posted above is based upon the limited factual information made available and is not intended as a full and complete response to the question. The only reliable manner to obtain complete and adequate legal advice is to consult with an attorney, fully explain your situation, and allow the attorney sufficient opportunity to research the applicable law and facts required to render an accurate opinion. The basic information provided above is intended as a public service only, a full discussion with an attorney should be undertaken before taking any action. The information posted on this forum is available for public viewing and is not intended to create an attorney client relationship with any individual. These answers are provided for informational purposes only, a person should consult with their own individual legal counsel before taking any action that could affect their legal rights or obligations.

Thank you. My husband has left with some of his belongings. You stated that if he moved out he should not be returning to the marital residence without my permission. Does this apply even though we don’t have a separation agreement? However, he did say he was going to get his lawyer to proceed with separation papers. Can I change the locks or when can I prohibit his entry?

He should still not be coming into the marital residence without your permission assuming you are living there and he is the one that moved out without the intent to remain permanently separate and apart. This would be true whether or not a separation agreement is in place.

You can change the locks at any time after he has moved out. You may or may not want to give him or his lawyer a notice that this will happen.


Anna Ayscue

Attorney with Rosen Law Firm Cary • Chapel Hill • Durham • Raleigh • Wake Forest

Rosen Online | Unlimited confidential access to a North Carolina attorney for $199/mo - click here

The response posted above is based upon the limited factual information made available and is not intended as a full and complete response to the question. The only reliable manner to obtain complete and adequate legal advice is to consult with an attorney, fully explain your situation, and allow the attorney sufficient opportunity to research the applicable law and facts required to render an accurate opinion. The basic information provided above is intended as a public service only, a full discussion with an attorney should be undertaken before taking any action. The information posted on this forum is available for public viewing and is not intended to create an attorney client relationship with any individual. These answers are provided for informational purposes only, a person should consult with their own individual legal counsel before taking any action that could affect their legal rights or obligations.