Spousal abandonment

Abandonment can include many things, but generally, it means that you have left your spouse without a means to support themselves or the minor children, or that you have left the marital relationship with out provocation. If you are considering separating, even on a temporary basis, you should consult with an attorney first to make sure all your legal rights are protected.

In this state once you are separated (meaning living in separate residence with the intent to remain apart permanently), the spouse who lives in the former marital residence can change the locks and tell the spouse who has left not to come back. If that spouse comes back after being told not to, they have committed the misdemeanor of Domestic Criminal Trespass.

If you leave the residence and begin living somewhere else she can change the locks and forbid you to come back to the residence. If you leave only on a temporary basis, the outcome is not always so clear. If she changed the locks and told you not to come back, your only option might be to go to court and ask the court to order her to let you back in.

Helena M. Nevicosi
Attorney with Rosen Law Firm

4101 Lake Boone Trail, Suite 500
Raleigh, North Carolina 27607
919.787.6668 main phone
919.787.6361 main fax

Charlotte Office
301 McCullough Drive
Suite 510
Charlotte, NC 28262
Main Phone: (704)307.4600
Main Fax: (704) 9343.0044

Durham & Chapel Hill Office
1829 East Franklin Street
Building 600
Chapel Hill, NC 27514
(919) 321.0780


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.

I believe I asked this before but I’m not sure of the answer,
or maybe you can explain to me the definition of Spousal abandonment.

If I told her that I needed some time to myself to think about the
relationship, to consider everything that is happening.

And then I go (for 1-2 weeks) is this Spousal abandonment ?
What ramafications do I face ?
Can she tell me I can’t return to the house ?

Also I run a home business from here and how could I continue this
if I decided to seperate ?