desertion

Definition from Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary

The voluntary abandonment of one spouse by the other, without the abandoned spouse's consent. Commonly, desertion occurs when a spouse leaves the marital home for a specified length of time. Desertion is grounds for divorce in states with fault divorce. Desertion can also be the basis for a court to grant an adoption where a parent has deserted a child for a specified period of time. (See also: abandonment)

Definition provided by Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary.