Definition - What does Desertion mean?

Desertion is the act of willfully forsaking or abandoning a social, familial or public obligation.

In military law, desertion refers to a harshly punished offense involving a soldier fleeing their post or abandoning their duty.

In family law, desertion refers to a spouse’s unjustifiable abandonment of the other spouse.

Justipedia explains Desertion

Desertion jurisprudence is rooted in the belief that there are some obligations that are so important that the failure to fulfill these obligations should be punished criminally or with civil liabilities.

In the military, where faithfulness to orders and rank is essential, desertion historically was punishable by hanging or firing squad.

Marriage is another obligation that is considered so sacred that the willful failure of one spouse to care for the other spouse in times of incapacitation can form the basis for a charge of criminal desertion.

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