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Getting a Divorce When Your Spouse Has a Substance Abuse Problem

 Posted on May 31, 2022 in Divorce

Kane County Family Law AttorneyBeing married to someone who is addicted to drugs or alcohol can be intolerable. People with substance abuse disorders put their addictions first and their spouses and families second. When you finally decide that your marriage is no longer sustainable and divorce is your best option, you should be prepared for an uphill battle. Addicts and alcoholics are typically not the most reliable or reasonable people, which can make getting their cooperation during the divorce process very difficult. They likely manipulated you a lot during your marriage and will probably continue trying to do so during your divorce. You may face an emotional struggle on top of your legal struggle. It is important to work with a strong attorney who can help you stand your ground and protect your own interests and the interests of any children you share with your spouse. 

Tips for Divorcing a Drug Addict or Alcoholic

You cannot do anything to change your spouse‚Äôs behavior. If you are at the point where you are seeking a divorce, you have probably tried everything you can think of to help your spouse overcome their addiction. Some things to keep in mind during the divorce process include: 

  • Communicate through lawyers - It is probably best that you do not try talking to your spouse directly lest they resort to manipulation. They may promise to get clean and sober, or they may threaten to commit suicide. Your best option is to let your attorney handle all communication. 

  • Get support - You should consider seeking out a support group like Al-Anon, which is for family and friends of substance abusers. There are similar groups for children who have been affected by a parent's substance abuse. You could also consider seeking individual or family counseling for yourself and your children. 

  • Be patient - Expect that your spouse may fail to show up for court or for alternative dispute resolution. Expect that they may show up too intoxicated to make any meaningful progress toward a divorce settlement. 

  • Prepare for litigation - It can be difficult if not impossible to get a spouse who is always intoxicated to negotiate in good faith and reach a reasonable divorce settlement. You may ultimately need to go to court to get your divorce finalized. 

  • Protect your children - Your spouse may be incapable of safely supervising and caring for children. It is important to limit the time your children spend around your spouse or ensure that there is adequate supervision by a sober adult. 

While the path to divorce may be difficult when you are dealing with an addict or alcoholic, it is entirely worth it. 

Contact a Kane County Divorce Attorney

If you are ready to divorce your substance-abusing spouse, Serrano Hanson can help. Our compassionate Geneva divorce lawyers will offer you support and guidance every step of the way. Call our law office at 630-844-8781 to get started with a consultation. 




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