Desertion means that a spouse, without good cause or excuse, leaves the marital home with the intent not to return and lives separate and apart from the other spouse for a period of time in excess of one year.


To prove desertion, there must be evidence that a spouse left the marital home with the intent not to return and remained away for more than one year. Typically, this proof must be corroborated by testimony or other proof that verifies those facts.


Condonation is a defense to a claim of desertion. Condonation means forgiveness, express or implied, by one spouse of a breach of marital duty by the other. Condonation is the forgiveness of an antecedent matrimonial offense on the condition that the marital offense shall not be repeated and that the offender treat the forgiving party with conjugal kindness. Condonation may be nullified by subsequent acts of desertion, which revive the former acts of desertion. Reconciliation (resumption of marital cohabitation) is another form of condonation and it is a defense to the charge of desertion.

Recrimination is a defense to a charge of desertion. Recrimination may arise from any conduct that has not been condoned which would be independently be sufficient as a ground for divorce itself, such as adultery, physical cruelty, habitual drunkenness, or desertion by the other spouse. In other words, if both spouses have committed acts sufficient to give rise to an action for divorce, neither spouse is entitled to a divorce on fault grounds.

Collusion, like connivance, is also a defense to a charge of desertion. That means the parties agreed that one spouse would commit an act of desertion in order to facilitate the Court granting a divorce.
Provocation is a defense to claim for desertion. Provocation means that act of desertion was provoked by the complaining spouse and the desertion was not out of proportion to the provocation.