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Substance abuse complicates marriage and divorce

On Behalf of | May 20, 2020 | Divorce

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reported that 7.4 million adults suffered from an addiction disorder in 2018.

It is nearly impossible for Texas spouses and children to avoid the fallout from an individual struggling with substance abuse, and a breakup of the marriage is often the unfortunate result. Partners in this situation must do what is necessary to protect themselves and their families, and understand how addiction might also complicate the divorce process.

Substance abuse and marriage

According to Psychology Today, a drug or alcohol addiction consumes focus and emotional energy, leaving very little left for the spouse and kids. Drug- or alcohol-dependent partners may experience a high degree of apathy, forcing a constant struggle for equal relationship contribution. Alternately, they may be increasingly volatile, leading to frequent fights, even escalating to verbal or physical abuse. Furthermore, severe disorders can cause extreme financial hardship and disruption, especially if it leads to legal altercations.

Substance abuse and divorce

Stress is one of the most common triggers for substance use, and the pressures of the divorce process may cause an increase in drug or alcohol intake, even if the addiction is the direct cause of the breakup. If a spouse is using drugs or alcohol to avoid dealing with the divorce, it could drag out the process and ultimately cause even more pain and hardship.

Substance abuse and child custody

Because children’s well-being comes first, addiction can play a substantial role in determining and learning to live with child custody orders. The court generally places a great emphasis on how substance-dependent parents plan to address their disorders and their willingness to participate in random testing. Sober parents who share custody with their recovering ex-partners may also experience anxiety as they learn to entrust their children’s safety to a formerly unreliable spouse.


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