Abandonment divorce, also known as desertion, is basically defined as one spouse leaving against the will of the other spouse. Sometimes, this situation occurs when one spouse leaves and is never heard from again. Other times, it can happen when things seem to be going well, and there are no signs of unhappiness; then all of a sudden, divorce is sought, and they become cold, distant, and completely different.

Whichever way abandonment divorce happens, it is often traumatic and brutal. Your world will feel like it is falling apart. However, there are ways to stop the downward spiral that inevitably comes from something this heartbreaking.

1) Know Your Rights

Some states require a certain amount of time. Most say a year, but some require more time before abandonment or desertion can be claimed for divorce. Make sure to look up your state laws to see how long you have to wait.

Be aware that some situations do not count as grounds for abandonment, including a mutual agreement to separate, unexpected military service, and fleeing an abusive situation. Even though these reasons are valid, they make closure more difficult.

A judge will decide whether there is a case for abandonment on a case-by-case basis, which means you will have to provide ample evidence that your spouse disappeared without any support or warning.

Sometimes, it can be hard to prove abandonment. You will have to prove that they left of their own free will, or have not been present in the marriage. You will also have to prove that they have not been financially contributing to anything in the household or family. It takes a lot of work. It will feel a lot less overwhelming if you seek help with collecting evidence as soon as possible. A divorce coach can help you find the evidence you need.

2) Counseling

Your confidence will take a hit. It is hard not to take abandonment personally, even though you should not. The trauma of the whole situation will lead to much confusion and many unanswered questions. An objective observer, such as a therapist, can help you see things with a better perspective.

In all likelihood, you will have an obsession with wanting answers that may never come, which is perfectly natural. You should be kind to yourself during this natural grieving process. A therapist will help you see how to accept that some questions may never be answered.

These emotions are powerful. If you try to deal with them all by yourself, it will only lead to burnout or breakdown, so allow yourself to seek the help you need.

3) Acceptance

What happened was wrong, and accepting that fact is the only way to move on. Accept that it has nothing to do with you, and everything to do with your spouse. This acceptance can go a long way in helping you heal from abandonment divorce.

Many people who choose abandonment have mental health problems. Once you are able to realize this fact, you will see that it has nothing to do with your worth.

What if They Come Back before a Year Passes?

If they come back and can prove it, the clock resets. Therefore, if they leave again, you have to wait another year—or whatever the amount of time is in your state—before you can file for abandonment divorce.

Also, the amount of time that they remain when they return does not factor into this law.  They could return for a single day with the intention of working things out. In some cases, spouses will go back and forth between returning and disappearing, just so they can avoid divorce.

This situation will make abandonment much more difficult to be grounds for divorce. A divorce professional can help you figure out the direction to go in this kind of situation.

Sometimes, it might be better to look for other grounds, which might also apply to your situation. You have options; abandonment is just one of them. Emotional abuse is often the next option spouses choose as grounds.

Whichever way you go, you will need to collect evidence. Make sure you have all the information that is required by your state.

If you experience abandonment without a prior warning that anything was wrong, it will likely put you in panic mode and make you highly emotional, which is perfectly understandable. Subsequently, many people overlook options they never knew they had.

Consider talking to a divorce coach, so that you can have an objective observer guide you through this tumultuous time. A divorce coach will know where to look when you are feeling overwhelmed. Whichever route you choose, just remember that it is not the end of the world. It will get better, and you will find yourself again.