“I told my spouse I’m going to take the children to stay with my (nearby) mother for a while. My spouse then threatened to divorce me and charge me with abandonment, and warned I’ll lose my kids and get nothing in the divorce. Is that true?”
No, not in Florida. Abandonment of a spouse may serve as a ground for divorce in a fault-based divorce state, but not here.
So-called abandonment of a spouse is irrelevant to child custody.
Could it affect the financial outcome of a divorce case? In certain cases, circumstances of an “abandonment” may be taken into account, along with other factors. An example of such a case might be where one spouse bails out on a recently physically-disabled, dependent spouse, taking most of the marital assets acquired over many years, without providing any financial support at all – even though well able to do so.
But most people who ask the question at the beginning of this message just want to take a little time and get a little distance from their relatively ordinary spouse and marriage, to think things over and figure out what they want to do. Florida’s no-fault divorce law doesn’t penalize a person for that.