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February 20, 2019
Substance Abuse And Relationships
Addiction Treatment

How Might Substance Abuse Affect A Divorce Case?

Struggling with an addiction may not leave any room for concentrating on a marriage. This can lead to divorce and a number of divorce case complications because of one spouse’s substance use disorder. Drug or alcohol addiction can ruin relationships and strip a spouse of certain rights or privileges during a split.

Substance Abuse And Relationships

Spouses cannot dedicate 100% of their time to relationships while simultaneously battling addictions. Substance use disorders take up too much mental energy, time, and attention. This can lead to a strained and suffering marriage. Addiction can drive a wedge between the two people in a relationship – mentally, physically, and emotionally. Addictions can also contribute to financial problems, which is one of the most common causes of divorce. A couple dealing with these substance use and abuse disorders are more likely to get divorced than other couples.

How Can Addiction Cause Divorce?

If a sober spouse tries to interfere with the other spouse’s drug or alcohol consumption, the spouse struggling with addiction may become violent emotionally and/or physically. This can lead to issues of domestic violence or abuse in the marriage, sparked by the disease of addiction. In other situations, one spouse may hide his or her addiction from their loved one. Keeping secrets and living a “double life” could make a couple grow apart irreconcilably. Both of these common problems could be the last straw in a marriage, and end in divorce.
Drugs and alcohol can make people do and say things they normally wouldn’t. They can lead to serious issues such as adultery, criminal acts, and abuse. Someone who used to be giving may become selfish. A parent who used to be present may start missing parent-teacher conferences or forgetting to pick a child up from school. Important relationships may take a back seat to drugs or alcohol. Over time, this can lead to irreparable damage to spousal relationships. In many many cases, addiction does end a marriage.

Can Addiction Affect A Divorce Case?

A partner’s history with addiction could change the way a judge rules on elements of a divorce. A play by play detail of substance abuse, for example, could sway a judge’s decision in custody battles. If one spouse used a joined bank account to fund an addiction, that partner may owe the other damages for money taken. The companion with the disorder may owe the other spousal support or child support. Understanding how an addiction may affect a divorce will take a huge discussion with a lawyer to cover all the potential issues.

Fault Laws And Property Division

Some states abide by fault divorce laws. This means they permit the person seeking divorce to ask for one on a fault-based ground, such as addiction or adultery. In these states, one spouse’s fault for the dissolution of marriage could lead to that person forfeiting certain rights to property, assets, support, or child custody. If the spouse that files for divorce proves that the other spouse’s substance use disorder caused the split, the spouse filing may receive the greater share of assets. In these states, it is up to the court to divide property based on the facts of the case.
Other states do not permit people to seek fault-based divorces. Instead, they allow divorce cases to arise based on a reason such as irreconcilable differences. In these states, neither half has to prove the other’s fault. The courts also will not take fault into account when determining property division, spousal support, or other issues in no-fault divorce states. Research the divorce laws in your state to understand how an addiction might impact property division in your situation. Just knowing the impacts could aid in motivation to be free of chemical dependency.

Substance Abuse And Child Custody

More distressing than the possibility of losing a home, car, or joint business is the thought of losing custody of your children. Many people struggling with addiction end up losing primary custody of their children many times permanently. A judge will rule on a custody case according to the best interests of the child. If the judge learns of one spouse’s struggle with addiction, the judge may assign primary custody to the sober parent – at least until and unless something changes.

Your spouse could use the drug dependency against you to obtain custody of children near the inception of a divorce case. If the judge believes your addiction could negatively affect your ability to care for your children’s best interests, you may lose custody at the first court hearing. You may or may not retain partial custody or visitation privileges depending on the situation. If your addiction led you to become physically abusive to your spouse or children, you may lose visitation rights completely.

It is possible to earn parenting time back if you prove to the judge that you have changed. Attending treatment for your drug or alcohol addiction and achieving long-term recovery can show a judge you are fit to resume partial or primary custody of your children. It is up to you to take the steps necessary to control the addiction and make your home safe for children again after a divorce. Otherwise, a judge may refuse custody because he or she believes the addiction could interfere with your ability to safely and adequately care for your children.

Treatment Can End The Cycle

You don’t have to wait until you’ve lost your spouse, your home, and/or your children to seek treatment for a substance abuse disorder. It’s never too early or too late to seek treatment. If you notice your alcohol or drug use interfering with your marriage, get proactive about recovery before your relationship ends in a messy divorce. Seek help from a professional rehabilitation facility or treatment center near you. Recovering from an addiction could save your relationship, prevent divorce, and help you and your family heal together.

Seek An Intervention For Your Spouse

If you believe you and your spouse are on the brink of divorce because of a substance use disorder, it may be time to plan an intervention. Intervention Helpline can help individuals avoid hitting rock bottom before seeking treatment. It can help families find the right approach to broaching the subject with a loved one, as well as convincing that person to seek professional help. Scheduling a professional intervention is the action your spouse may need to decide to make a real change in his or her behaviors.

Interventional Helpline can also help parents who have lost custody because of a drug or alcohol addiction. It can force the individual to face the consequences of his or her actions and give the person the push he or she needs to finally get treatment and stay sober. A successful intervention can put the individual in touch with the facility or professionals he or she needs to start the journey toward long-term sobriety. Treatment is possible. Divorce and related losses do not have to be how your story ends. Contact us to speak with an intervention specialist confidentially today.

Mike Loverde

Mike Loverde is a Certified Intervention Professional with more than 10 years of experience, and he is the founder and president of Intervention Helpline. He believes in taking a family-first approach to every intervention, and he created Intervention Helpline with the primary purpose of saving each family’s loved one before it is too late.

Furthermore, he is the primary writer for the Intervention Helpline Blog. He is always eager to share his insight and expertise on interventions, addiction treatment programs, rehab insurance coverage, relapse prevention and many other related topics.

Read the latest blog articles from the desk of Mike Loverde here, and don’t hesitate to contact if you have any questions or need intervention help now.

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