image1 (1)If you leave your spouse with children you are potentially committing a crime in Georgia. In fact, if you leave your spouse while pregnant in Georgia you are potentially committing a crime in Georgia. In Georgia the law provides for abandonment statutes that simply state that if you willfully or voluntarily abandon your child without providing for sufficient food, clothing, or shelter for the needs of the child you are potentially guilty of a misdemeanor, if you leave the state this could constitute a felony.

This obligation extends to the wife if it is known she is pregnant. The spouse abandoned has the opportunity to swear out a warrant in the appropriate court in which she or he resides. Notice will be given to the party accused of abandonment and a hearing will be scheduled. In my experience, when an individual has failed to provide any support and left the children that individual is usually escorted out if the courtroom in handcuffs to post bond and face a misdemeanor charge. Of course if the mother or father forces the other party out or leaves themselves there is a question of actual abandonment.

The statute clearly states that the father or mother willfully and voluntarily abandons his or her child. The state must show this willful and voluntary element. If the action is brought by the pregnant wife the husband must have actual knowledge of the pregnancy. In short, if you leave during a pending domestic action and there are children involved, or you simply leave, send the remaining spouse something adequate to keep them in the home and fed. More importantly, proceed in the civil arena immediately and establish your rights of custody, visitation and proper support. If you simply leave you will pay support the question is whether you will end up with a criminal record for doing what the civil court is going to order regardless.