Divorcing an Addict

How to Approach Divorcing an Addict

If your spouse is struggling with addiction, it’s bound to take a huge toll on both of you, your children, your finances, and the quality of your lives.  Watching someone that you love lose themselves to their addiction is, perhaps, one of the hardest things you’ll ever have to face. According to a 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), approximately 25 million people are in a marriage with an addict or alcoholic.

Addiction is progressive and will only get worse, if your spouse doesn’t seek serious help. There are plenty of rehab and 12-step programs available to addicts, but your spouse must be sincere in their willingness to seek help in battling their addiction.  Many addicts successfully complete rehab and are on the road to recovery when unfortunately they experience a relapse and are, once again, engaging in destructive and dangerous behaviors.

Divorcing an addict can be just as difficult or even harder than staying with them. Whether you’re staying in your marriage out of a sense of loyalty, love, guilt, or even fear, there comes a time when you reach the end of your rope — when enough is enough. At some point, you may have to make the decision that you’re better off getting out of a destructive situation, especially if you have children.  

If you’re considering divorcing your spouse you need to know how to approach divorce in order to make it easier for you and your children.

Understanding their Behavior

Many spouses of addicts are trapped in a codependent relationship.  Codependency is characterized by a dysfunctional one-sided relationship that enables another person to continue their irresponsible or addictive behavior, even after it’s clear that the addict’s substance abuse is taking priority over their life and their spouses.

Your spouse may resort to lying, cheating, and even stealing in order to gain access to more of their substance of choice or to get away with using it.  While under the influence, their decision making processes become impaired and you’ll be forced to deal with bad decisions, which could affect you financially, especially if they’re spending money on drugs that you need to maintain your household.  Their impaired decision making and deteriorating mental health can also contribute to emotional, physical, and sexual abuse.

While divorcing an addict is very challenging, you have to make the decision to stop enabling your addicted spouse by providing the crutch that helps them to continue their destructive behaviors.

Advice You Can Trust

When divorcing an addict, you may be faced with a more contentious process as well as more complex legal issues.  If you need help divorcing a husband or wife that’s an addict, you need the services of an experienced family attorney who can help make the divorce process easier for you.

Sven Buncher, an Orange family law attorney with Buncher Family Law, understands the emotional and financial challenges that come with divorce cases involving addiction. He will endeavor to make the divorce process as smooth as possible for you and your family.

Posted in Divorce.