No divorce is easy, but when one spouse is in the throes of alcohol or drug addition, the process can be even more complicated and frustrating. Laws regarding addiction and divorce vary from by state. Knowing about how addiction impacts divorce will help you approach the process informed and prepared.
Documenting a Spouse’s Addiction
The fact that your partner abuses alcohol or drugs will likely have some bearing on certain aspects of your divorce, especially when children are involved. Documenting your partner’s addiction is an important part of your pending divorce proceedings. Document the signs of addiction as soon as you suspect your partner might have a problem.
Keep prescriptions, receipts, and credit card records that show your spouse purchased or obtained drugs. Take photos of drug and drug paraphernalia. Save any emails or text messages referring to a partner’s drug or alcohol abuse. If your spouse went to jail or rehabilitation, keep those records as well. Remember to obtain all this information legally, without stealing your spouse’s passwords or going through their personal devices, or you could face criminal charges.
Divorcing an Addicted Spouse in Maryland
Couples in Maryland can divorce on fault or no-fault grounds. Adultery, desertion, conviction of certain crimes, insanity, cruelty, and excessively vicious conduct are all grounds for divorce. While addiction is not specifically considered grounds for divorce, it often leads to certain behaviors that are. Even if your spouse is not guilty of any of these conditions, you can still divorce without fault. Yet, addiction will inevitable play a part in other matters related to your split.
Child Custody and Addiction
When it comes to establishing child custody, addiction will likely influence the judge’s decisions about where the children will live and how often they will see the non-custodial parent. Some will ask a parent battling addiction to submit to regular drug and/or alcohol screenings before awarding visitation. The non-addicted parent often receives primary custody until the other can prove they are sober and ready to be a healthy presence in the children’s lives. If the addicted spouse is a legitimate danger to their children, the non-addicted parent can ask for a restraining order or emergency child custody order.
Alcohol/drug abusers can be unpredictable and irrational, making the divorce process especially stressful. The following are tips for ending your marriage and coming out on the other side in a good place:
- Join a support group for family members of addicted spouses
- Lean on your family and friends, and accept help
- Encourage your soon-to-be ex-spouse to get treatment for their addiction
- Protect your assets
- Enlist an experienced divorce lawyer
Towson Divorce Lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC Represent Clients Seeking Divorce Against an Addicted Spouse
At Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC, your Towson divorce lawyer understands the unique challenges that addiction presents and works tirelessly to protect you and your children from the devastating impact of alcohol or drug dependence in the family. To learn more about how to protect your interests, call us at 443-589-0150 or contact us online to get started today. Located in Towson and Hunt Valley, Maryland, we serve clients throughout Baltimore, Baltimore County, Bel Air, Bentley Springs, Columbia, Freeland, Hereford, Hampton, Westminster, Essex, Monkton, Sparks Glencoe, Parkton, Phoenix, Pikesville, White Hall, Carroll County, Harford County, and Howard County.