If your spouse has left you then you can file for a divorce. This is known as desertion.
Immediate Effect of Desertion
Desertion can happen if your spouse has left you with immediate effect with an intention to never come back to stay with you as your spouse, without you agreeing to this arrangement.
This will only be understood by the Courts on a case by case basis. It is important to note that if your spouse has temporarily or in the heat of the moment left you, without actually intending to abandon you, this will not amount to desertion.
For example, if you had a fight with your husband and he leaves the house in anger then it does not mean that he have deserted you.
However, it is important that you have not created such a circumstance that any reasonable person would find so difficult to bear with that would have had to desert you. If you have created such a circumstance then the courts may not consider your case for desertion.
Other Ways of Desertion
Apart from a single act of leaving you, desertion can happen over a period of time through a course of conduct or through repeated behavioural patterns.
If your spouse has slowly withdrawn from you and your social circles (for example: stopped all interaction with you and your family though he/she may live with you) and has stopped behaving as any spouse does in a marriage (for example: refusing to financially contribute to a household since and contribute in any other way to the household) it can be understood as desertion. In such a case the spouse doesn’t have to physically leave you. Depending on the circumstances of each case, the Court can consider the desertion to begin when such behaviour started.
The Court will look at all the facts, circumstances to understand each specific case to decide on granting a divorce.
Time Period for Desertion
In order to claim desertion as a reason for divorce:
- Your spouse should have deserted or abandoned you for two years.
- This two year period must be continuous.
For example, Karan left his wife, Vijji, in January 2016, but changed his mind and came back to be with his wife in July 2017. Vijji cannot go to Court to file for a divorce for this reason as the two year period was not continuous.0