Heinrich Christian, PLLC Heinrich Christian, PLLC
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How can drug abuse affect your divorce?

Divorce is complicated enough without adding in additional problems, like drug or alcohol abuse. Unfortunately, divorce is a stressful time for everyone involved, so substance abuse can and does occur with more frequency than it should. If drug abuse was one of the reasons that resulted in you deciding to file for divorce, that could have a profound impact on the divorce.

Most states abolished the "fault" divorce which required couples to justify the divorce on legal grounds and facts. For example, you couldn't obtain a divorce unless you could prove that your spouse abandoned you or put you in fear for your life. But now couples can marry or divorce for any reason they wish, the court no longer requires justification.

But that does not mean the court does not take into account the reasons for your divorce. Drug abuse would likely have a huge impact on your divorce. If children are involved, it is highly likely the court will consider substance abuse in determining custodial arrangements. But that does not mean the door is forever closed, the courts usually allow the parent who uses drugs to enter into programs and get "clean;" upon proof of completion courts will often allow limited visitation.

Another common theme among drug abusers is that they tend to take more than their fair share of the marital assets to purchase illicit substances. If the court finds that this occurred, it is likely it will order that the drug abusing spouse surrender a larger share of their marital assets to the non-abusing partner to compensate them for the lost property.

If your ex-partner is abusing drugs, it is highly likely that it will influence the direction of your divorce. You may want to discuss these questions with your attorney before bringing them up to the court. These are sensitive concerns and could profoundly affect the other parent's relationship with your joint children and you. It is a big decision that you should fully consider before acting.

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