The fighting was fierce. Hateful words were spoken and they cut you to your core. Things were thrown and shattered, leaving your house in chaos—just like your marriage.

You want nothing more than to get out, so you pick up a suitcase and hurriedly start gathering a few things. Without a backward glance, you head to the door.

Stop right there!

Have you thought this through? Did you know that leaving the house now could hurt you in a future Maryland divorce case?

Whether or not your marriage can be saved, leaving the house before filing for a Maryland divorce could actually be construed as desertion, a dirty word that could harm your chances at getting a fair share in the divorce settlement.

Defining Desertion in Maryland

Desertion, or abandonment, is when one spouse willfully leaves the other with no intent to reconcile the marriage. There are two types of desertion:

1. Actual Desertion

This is when one spouse packs up his or her belongings and moves out of the house. While this may seem like a good idea in the heat of the battle, this move could affect you negatively when it comes time to hashing out a divorce settlement.

2. Constructive Desertion

This is when one spouse refuses to perform his or her marital duties, in essence abandoning the marriage relationship to the point that the other spouse feels moving out is the only option. This is typically reserved for specific circumstances, such as when cruelty or abuse is present or when sex and other marital obligations are withheld.

Before you make any drastic moves such as leaving the house in a rush, you should talk to a Maryland family lawyer who is familiar with the intricacies of Maryland divorce law. An attorney can help you determine your best path of action to protect your rights to any assets in a future divorce settlement.

For a free consultation, call Nickelsporn & Lundin at 800-875-9700, or fill out our online form to request more information.