Exploring Substance Abuse And Its Affect On Fault In Divorce

Law Blog

There are few people around that have not been affected in some manner by the negative effects of substance abuse. When it comes to marriages, this malady can create so much distrust and bitterness that a divorce may be the end result. Some divorcing parties could be reluctant to name substance abuse as the reason the marriage fell apart. Read on to find out when and why doing so might be a good idea.

For the Sake of the Children

Exposing children to a parent suffering from addiction issues is a touchy subject. Doing what's right for the child might mean allowing them to spend time with a parent who is under the influence of a substance. People who cannot stay away from alcohol or other substances have little to no control over their actions. As the parent of the child, it is up to you to take measures to ensure that the child is safe and not exposed to the habits of your spouse. When deciding on custody and visitation issues, consider the following:

  1. You must have proof that the other parent is using substances. If the other parent won't admit to it and they have no criminal record, you may have a difficult time convincing the judge to order drug tests on them.
  2. Full physical custody of the child is the goal.
  3. Visitation should be of the supervised variety, if at all. Avoid overnight visitations.
  4. Promises to go to rehab should never be acceptable. Unfortunately, addicts often lie and they tend to relapse as well, so wait for a year or more after they claim to be clean before making changes in the visitation plan.

For Financial Sake

While you can be divorced in all states without specifically stating a reason other than irreconcilable differences, you should nevertheless remain cognizant of the negative financial impact of living with a substance abuser. Drug and alcohol abuse can eat up vast sums of money to maintain a habit. Additionally, those under the influence may make bad financial decisions regularly. Take these examples:

  • Spouse blows through the savings meant for your child's education.
  • Spouse takes out a second mortgage on your home, leaving you both deeply in debt.
  • Spouse loses their job, causing you to work two jobs just to stay afloat.

Speak with your divorce attorney about doing a deep dive into ways to recoup those funds using child support, spousal support, property, and the assignment of debts. To learn more about what can set a divorce from a substance abuser apart, speak to a divorce lawyer right away.


28 August 2019

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