The Challenges of Divorcing an Alcoholic or Addict
16 Sep, 2020
By Rob Musemeche
Divorce is always hard, but divorcing an alcoholic or addict can make it even more complicated and stressful. Get help from a skilled lawyer.
Leaving the person with whom you have built memories and established a life is incredibly challenging, even if you know that it is time to move on. In addition to the normal challenges of a divorce that every couple will go through, each couple also faces their own unique challenges. For those who are married to an untreated alcoholic or addict, divorce may be especially emotional and complex. Consider some of these common challenges of divorcing an alcoholic or addict and call our experienced family law attorney for representation during the divorce process.
Ways That Addiction Can Complicate Divorce
While each person’s situation will vary on a case-by-case basis, addiction of any form — including drug and alcohol addiction, sex addiction, and gambling — can complicate a marriage and a divorce. Ways that addiction can complicate divorce include:
- Financial implications. Addiction usually accompanies a series of poor financial choices, and may also mean that the alcoholic or addict is struggling with large amounts of debt, is unable to hold a job, has exhausted a family savings account or sold family heirlooms to support their habit, etc. Because Texas is a community property state, it may be hard to determine what is “equitable” and “fair” if one party has engaged in reckless financial misconduct. A claim for waste or reimbursement under the law are remedies available to the “innocent” spouse.
- Implications for child custody. Another thing that can be very complicated and heartbreaking about untreated alcoholism and addiction is that the selfish and destructive behaviors which are characteristic of alcoholism and addiction often prevents the addicted parent from being capable of providing a safe and stable environment for the child. Continued selfishness, anger, resentment and shame may even motivate them to still fight very hard for custody. This can be devastating to watch and navigate, for both the other parent and any children. But there are strategies and tools that can be used to address these issues, and the courts are often willing to take bold steps in order to protect the children from continued abuse or neglect from an addicted parent.
- At-fault divorce. While addiction itself is not a specific ground for an at-fault divorce in Texas, addiction may lead to other behaviors, such as adultery or abandonment, cruelty or family violence, and these are grounds for an at-fault divorce. Choosing to pursue an at-fault divorce over a no-fault divorce may make the divorce process more complicated, but it has significant benefits to the innocent spouse in most cases.
Of course, in addition to the legal elements that may be complicated by a divorce from a person who struggles with addiction, there may also be additional social and emotional consequences, too. For example, it may feel impossible to maintain a friendly relationship with an ex who struggled with addiction. One or both parties may also lose friends or struggle to maintain relationships with family as such. Unless and until the untreated alcoholic or addict successfully rehabilitates and recovers, then their illness and selfish behaviors will invariably continue to impact the family, during and potentially well after the divorce is final.
Get Help from an Experienced TX Divorce Lawyer
At the office of Musemeche Law, P.C., we understand how challenging divorce is, especially if you are divorcing someone who struggles with alcoholism and addiction. When you choose our law firm, we will take the aggressive tactics that your case requires, while also recognizing the sensitive nature of the situation and protecting your family and confidentiality. We have the experience that your case demands and are ready to advocate for you. To learn more about our firm and services, please contact us directly today by phone or online. We can start working on your case immediately.