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abandonment

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 Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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