Any divorce is difficult, and something we all wish to be able to avoid but divorcing an addict bears even more hardships. Being married to one does as well. Addiction is one of the primary destroyers of relationship and families, as well as individual lives. This article will go over all the basics of divorcing an addict that you need to be aware of before, during, or after the divorce itself.
The facts about being in a relationship with an addict
Before we focus on divorce, let’s discuss how the relationships with addicts look like. Because there’s no divorce without a dysfunctional relationship.
But first of all, a few facts about the addicts. Although it is usually very hard for the non-addicted spouse to believe in that, the addiction and the binges are not about them. It is a very private relationship between the addict and the substance.In a similar way, deception is also not something to be taken personally. Addiction has a way of making the addict believe they cannot live without the substance, and they will do anything to obtain it, or to keep using it. Not that you should condone lies, but you just need to understand why it happens and not get distracted by being hurt by lies.
Addiction goes far beyond the substance
When married to an addict, and once the addiction is shouted out loud, what becomes the main issue in the family is – treatment. But, as is commonly known, there is no treatment without an honest decision to do so. And also, this decision is not enough. What is also not enough is a detox. Many people mistakenly believe that once the drugs are out of the system, the addict is basically healed.
This cannot be further from the truth. Addiction goes far beyond the substance (although the substance isn’t a piece of cake either). It is a combination of different psychological mechanisms that made the person vulnerable, kept them addicted, and keep them from healing. This is why living with an addict often turns into an endless game of getting in and out of treatments.
Is divorce inevitable when married to an addict?
Addiction is, without a doubt, one of the greatest challenges for a marriage. The non-addicted spouse is affected by the addiction directly and indirectly. They have to watch someone they love going through a disastrous downward spiral. Often, they also have to look at how this affects their children.
On top of that, they will get lied to, possibly cheated on, shouted at, possibly physically hurt, and be treated with far less respect than they deserve to be treated with. Addiction will gradually eat away the trust and the closeness. and by being legally bound to the addict, the non-addicted spouse will also be legally bound to share the damage that the addict might cause.
All this has the power to strain the marriage and drain the non-addicted spouse’s energy and tolerance. And it may be the cause of a divorce. Not necessarily, though, as to whether the divorce will happen depends on a number of reasons, such as whether the addict is getting a treatment and how successfully, the quality and strength of the relationship prior to the addiction, etc.
Legal aspects of divorcing an addict
However, if you are contemplating on divorcing an addict, there a few specific additional tactics to use, apart from the general aspects of a divorce process that everyone goes through. First of all, addiction is usually considered grounds for a fault divorce. In cases when you feel that you should file for a fault divorce, you will need proof of habitual and long-term intoxication of your soon-to-be-ex.
If during the divorce proceedings where there are children involved in the custody battle addiction is reported, the judge will order an investigation of this complaint. If there is proof of such allegations, the custody of children will be given to the non-addicted parent. In cases when the addicted parent still visits children under the influence of the substance, a rehabilitation may be ordered by the court.
Things to consider before the divorce
All this may be traumatic for both partners and the children. Which is why there are a few things you should carefully consider before you do decide to file for the divorce. First of all, is your spouse beyond help? Did they try and fail rehabilitation? Are they endangering you or your children? Is your marriage broken beyond repair?