Abandonment (French abandonnement, from abandonner, to abandon, relinquish; abandonner was originally equivalent to mettrea bandon, to leave to the jurisdiction, i.e. of another, bandon being from Low Latin bandum, bannum, order, decree, "ban"), in law, the relinquishment of an interest, claim, privilege or possession. Its signification varies according to the branch of the law in which it is employed, but the more important uses of the word are summarized below.
Abandonment of an action is the discontinuance of proceedings commenced in the High Court of Justice either because the plaintiff is convinced that he will not succeed in his action or for other reasons. Previous to the Judicature Act of 1875, considerable latitude was allowed as to the time when a suitor might abandon his action, and yet preserve his right to bring another action on the same suit (see "nonsuit"); but since 1875 this right has been considerably curtailed, and a plaintiff who has deilvered his reply (see "pleading"), and afterwards wishes to abandon his action, can generally obtain leave so to do only on condition of bringing no further proceedings in the matter.
Abandonment in marine insurance is the surrender of the ship or goods insured to the insurers, in the case of a constructive total loss of the thing insured. For the requisites and effects of abandonment in this sense See "marine insurance. "
Abandonment of wife and children is generally called desertion, and is somewhat difficult to prove in court. The plaintiff must generally show his or spouse to have left for over a year and failed to pay support, as well as proving that the departure was not agreed upon and also not caused by the plaintiff. The abandonment or exposure of a young child under the age of two, which is an indictable misdemeanour, is commonly called "cruelty to children."
Abandonment of domicile is the ceasing 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 individual case. In the United States, a tenant is generally understood to have abandoned a property if s/he has fallen behind in rent and shown a disinterest 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.
Abandonment of an easment is the relinquishment of some accommodation or right in another's land, such as right of way, free access of light and air, etc. See "easement."
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.
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.