If a spouse spends the night in another city with a new partner and lies about where they were can it be seen as abandonment if they leave the other spouse to look after the children while they spend the night away?
Are you thinking of Desertion? Desertion means leaving your spouse without his or her agreement and without good reason, and you must be absent for a period of 2 or more continuous year. This is hardly ever used.
I guess what I am asking here is if there is a legal term used when a spouse refuses to contribute to the payment of household maintenance (mortgage, electricity etc). In addition if the same spouse frequently leaves the other spouse to look after their children while they go out all night without their spouse''s consent, is there a correct legal term for it?
How might it be used when a judge decides on who is the resident parent?
But - I would advise against making any allegations of perceived lack of parental skills or commitment in a Petition. Its considered "bad form" to do so by most sols.
The matter of deciding who is the RP is something entirely different - and would depend on who is currently is providing the greater share of care for the children and who is best placed to provide that. Continuity is important, as is parents making the decisions between themselves without prolonged litigation to resolve issues.
What is the context? If one party leaves the marriage with no intention of returning, abandons their obligations after two years desertion maybe used as a "fact" to show the marriage has broken down. Meeting the criteria for desertion is very difficult so it''s rarely used as a reason for divorce.
There is also a duty for spouses to maintain each other and the courts have the power to order maintenance when one party to the marriage fails to provide reasonable maintenance to the other or one spouse is in need and the other has the resources to help out.
Generally speaking the spouse living in the former matrimonial will be expected to pay their own bills and maintain the property. It could also be said one party enjoys sole use of the property they should pay the mortgage instead of rent for occupying both spouse''s share of the property.