Nolo's Plain-English Law Dictionary

Desertion

The voluntary abandonment of one spouse by the other, without the abandoned spouse's consent. Commonly, desertion occurs when a spouse leaves the marital home for a specified length of time. Desertion is grounds for divorce in states with fault divorce. Desertion can also be the basis for a court to grant an adoption where a parent has deserted a child for a specified period of time. (See also: abandonment)
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