abandonment

abandonment

[uh-ban-duhn]
abandonment, in law, voluntary, intentional, and absolute relinquishment of rights or property without conveying them to any other person. Abandonment also means willfully leaving one's spouse or children, intending not to return (see desertion). In many states the abandonment of a child is a criminal offense.
The term abandonment has a multitude of uses, legal and extra-legal. This "signpost article" provides a guide to the various legal and quasi-legal uses of the word and includes links to articles that deal with each of the distinct concepts at greater length.

Abandonment, in law, is the relinquishment or renunciation of an interest, claim, privilege, possession or right, especially with the intent of never again resuming or reasserting it. Such intentional action may take the form of a discontinuance or a waiver. This broad meaning has a number of applications in different branches of law.

In common law jurisdictions, both common law abandonment and statutory abandonment of property may be recognized. Common law abandonment may be generally defined as "the relinquishment of a right [in property] by the owner thereof without any regard to future possession by himself or any other person, and with the intention to foresake or desert the right.... Common law abandonment is "the voluntary relinquishment of a thing by its owner with the intention of terminating his ownership, and without [the intention of] vesting ownership in any other person; the giving up of a thing absolutely, without reference to any particular person or purpose.... (emphasis added) [footnotes and citations omitted]. An example of statutory abandonment in a common law jurisdiction is abandonment by a bankruptcy trustee under ). In Scots law, failure to assert a legal right in a way that implies abandonment of it is called taciturnity.

  • In respect of property, intentional abandonment is also referred to as dereliction, and something voluntarily abandoned by its owner with the intention of not retaking it is a derelict. Someone that holds or claims abandoned property is an abandonee. A piece of abandoned land is a relinquishment. A res nullius abandoned by its owner, leaving it vacant, belongs to no one. Occupying an abandoned empty house without permission is squatting.
  • Abandonment of an easement is the relinquishment by a nonuser, for a specified period, of some accommodation or right in another's land, such as right of way or free access of light and air.
  • Abandonment of domicile occurs when one ceases to reside permanently in a former domicile, coupled with the intention of choosing a new domicile. The presumptions which will guide the court in deciding whether a former domicile has been abandoned or not must be inferred from the facts of each case. In the United States, a tenant is generally understood to have abandoned a property if he or she has fallen behind in rent and shown a lack of interest in continuing to live there. The landlord must then send notice of the intent to sell the property and wait a certain number of days to take action on it. How long the landlord has to wait depends on the value of the property. The landlord can keep the money up to the costs incurred as a result of the abandonment; the rest must be set aside for the former tenant, should she or he eventually return.
  • In regard to property insurance, abandonment occurs when the insured surrenders to the insurer all rights to damaged or lost property and claims payment for a total loss. Sometimes, this is permitted only when damage constitutes constructive total loss. In marine insurance parlance, abandonment involves the surrender of a ship or goods to the insurer, who becomes the abandonee. Abandonment can also mean refusal to accept from a delivering carrier a shipment so damaged in transit as to be worthless.
  • In the domain of copyright, abandonment is recognized as the explicit release of material by a copyright holder into the public domain. However, statutory abandonment is a relatively unclear area of copyright law and the more common approach is to license work under a scheme that provides for public use rather than strictly abandoning copyright. For more information consult "disclaimer of interest".
  • Abandonment of trademark is understood to happen when a trademark is not used for three or more years, or when it is deliberately discontinued; trademark law protects only trademarks being actively used and defended. An example of an abandoned trademark is aspirin, once a mark of the Bayer company, now considered a generic term.
  • In patent law, abandonment is relinquishment by an inventor of the right to secure a patent, in such a way as to constitute a dedication of the invention to public use.
  • In transport regulation, abandonment is permission sought by or granted to a carrier by a state or federal agency to cease operation of all or part of a route or service. Abandonment of railways has a legal signification in England recognized by statute, by authority of which the Board of Trade may, under certain circumstances, grant a warrant to a railway authorizing the abandonment of its line or part of it.
  • In military practice and law, abandonment of a military post by a soldier can be called desertion, and being away from that post can be called "Away Without Leave" or dereliction of duty.
  • In family law, desertion refers to intentional and substantial abandonment, permanently or for a period of time stated by law, without legal excuse and without consent, of one's duties arising out of a status such as that of husband and wife or parent and child. It can involve desertion of a spouse with the intention of creating a permanent separation. Desertion of one spouse by the other without just cause is called malicious abandonment. Child abandonment is often recognized as a crime, in which case the child is usually not physically harmed directly as part of the abandonment; distinct from this is the widely recognized crime of infanticide. Child abandonment is also called exposure or exposition, especially when an infant is left in the open.

  • Abandonment of a patient, in medicine, occurs when a health care professional (usually a physician, nurse, dentist or paramedic) has already begun emergency treatment of a patient and then suddenly walks away while the patient is still in need, without securing the services of an adequate substitute or giving the patient adequate opportunity to find one. It is a crime in many countries and can result in the loss of one's license to practice. Also, because of the public policy in favor of keeping people alive, the professional cannot defend himself or herself by pointing to the patient's inability to pay for services; this opens the medical professional to the possibility of exposure to malpractice liability beyond one's insurance coverage.
  • Abandonment of an action (see Judicature Acts) relates to a plaintiff's discontinuance of proceedings ongoing before the High Court of Justice of England and Wales, a procedure that changed substantially as a result of reforms to the judiciary of the United Kingdom in 1875.
  • '''ABANDONMENT: Abandonment is when you give up all your rights or claims to property which you rightfully own. This property might include patents, leases, inventions, copyrights or trademarks.
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