When Addiction Is Part Of Your Divorce Situation
The issue of drug and alcohol abuse is one that touches many lives. Children, spouses, and other family members can suffer untold misery because of addiction problems. It's not too surprising that some couples are unable to hold their marriage together when addiction enters the relationship. When addiction is involved, the usual issues that plague the divorce process can be escalated and the process can become more complex and stressful for all. Read on for some thoughts to consider when addiction is part of your divorce situation.
- In some states and in some divorces, what tore the marriage apart is irrelevant. For example, in states that offer no-fault divorce filings, the only issue cited in the petition might be irreconcilable differences or the like. If one spouse cheated on the other, that probably won't change the way the divorce is processed.
- In some states, however, fault can be cited and can be used to determine property, debts, custody, and more. Drug or alcohol addiction and the issues that arise from it might be used to show fault in those states.
- No matter how your state looks at fault, however, there is a good chance that addiction has negatively influenced your relationship, your children, your finances, and more. When an issue is in contention, the specter of addiction may play a part. For example, if the addicted spouse used funds from a joint account to pay for their habit, those funds might be owed to the other spouse. Judges may rule that punishing an innocent spouse is unfair and use evidence of addiction to make decisions on debts and property. In a related issue, if your spouse's addiction issues led directly to your need to divorce, the judge could order your spouse to pay the legal fees of both parties.
- The courts work hard to protect the lives of the children of divorce. They can and do hand down orders that ensure a child has financial resources and has a safe home to live in. Addiction seldom creates a great atmosphere for raising children. While almost all children benefit when they can spend time with both parents, judges must also act to protect children from parents with dangerous addiction problems. Some common orders that address that issue include supervised visitation only with no overnight stays. If the problems are severe enough, the addicted parent could lose both legal and physical custody of the child.
- It is possible to recover from alcohol and drug addiction, and many have successfully done just that. It can take a combination of will, knowledge, a supportive community, and sometimes, the help of a higher power. Parents who get help and are trying to recover have a far better chance of having punitive orders altered so they can spend more time with their children. Be prepared to be supportive of that while staying vigilant for relapses.
Speak to your divorce attorney about this issue as soon as possible.
4 June 2020